Do you lose sleep because of your partner’s snoring? Is it light snoring you just can’t ignore, or the window rattling variety that nobody would sleep through?
Most people snore occasionally, but it’s estimated up to 40% of men and 24% of women do so regularly.
There’s plenty of help available for people who snore. But what about you – the one who has to try to sleep through the constant rumbling until it’s dealt with?
Let’s take a look at some practical tips for helping your partner tackle their snoring, and helping you cope with the noise until they do.
1. First steps: is it snoring or sleep apnea?
Your partner may not feel the snoring disrupts their sleep, and it might be true. But according to the American Sleep Apnea Association, up to 50% of snorers might have Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder with serious health implications. So it’s important to encourage your partner to speak to a doctor if they have any of the following symptoms:
- They usually snore loudly
- Sometimes stop breathing in their sleep
- Choke or gasp when asleep
- Very restless at night
- Often feel tired during the daytime
Sleep apnea can be treated, and in doing so will help the snoring – and your sleep along with it! If your partner is being stubborn about their snoring, record them so they can hear it themselves.
2. Change their sleeping position & the tennis ball trick
Many people snore more when they lie on their back, and less so on their side or stomach. Ask your partner to remember this, at least at the start of the night.
If they roll onto their back later in the night, see if you can gently roll them back onto their side.
A seemingly bizarre trick is to sew a tennis ball into the back of their pajamas or T-shirt. This will make sleeping on their back uncomfortable, and keep them in a non-snoring position.
If they can only sleep on their back, try experimenting with different pillow heights. And you can find specialist anti-snore pillows which keep the head and airways in a better position.
3. Support them to lead a healthy lifestyle
There are several risk factors that are thought to increase the likelihood, or intensity, of snoring.
Being overweight is a major factor. According to the British Snoring and Sleep Apnea Association, obese people are 3 times more likely to snore.
And research has shown other factors that can lead to snoring are:
- Drinking alcohol (relaxes throat muscles)
- Smoking cigarettes
- Regular use of sleep medication or other sedatives
- Nasal congestion because of a cold, sinus infection, illness or allergy
If any of these apply to your partner, talk to them about the effect it might be having on their snoring and sleep. And if they have allergies, such as dust mite, hay fever or animals, try to keep the bedroom clear of allergens.
4. Block out the noise
If nothing else helps, you can try to block out as much sound as possible so you can get some sleep. The main ways to do this are:
- Use earplugs with a high noise reduction rating of 33 decibels
- Wear headphones in bed and listen to music
- Try noise-canceling headphones to increase the sound blocking
- Mask the snoring with a white noise machine, though it might be better to use headphones and a free white noise App or online player
If your partner snores very loudly, it might be a case of reducing the volume. The average volume of snoring is between 60 to 80 decibels (dB), but even the best earplugs can only reduce sound by 33 dB.
They will stay make a big difference to how much sound you hear, but it’s worth remembering you might not be able to block 100% of the snoring.
5. Go to bed first, or sleep in separate bedrooms
If you tend to stay asleep once you finally do drift off, it might be helpful to go to bed first. That gives you the best chance to enter sleep mode. And stressing about their snoring won’t keep you awake either.
But if it comes to it, there’s no harm in sleeping in separate bedrooms. Perhaps it could be a backup plan for the worst nights, or when you have something important to do the next day.
According to a 2005 poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 1 in 4 married American couples sleep in separate beds or bedrooms. And an increasing number of custom homes are including a second master bedroom.
6. Ask them to try an anti-snoring device
Last year, I gave a friend who snores extremely loudly 3 different anti-snoring devices to try out. One did nothing, a second was ok, and a third worked very well.
He then spoke to his dentist about getting a custom device made, which led to him stopping snoring.
There are many different devices available, with the main categories being:
- Mandibular advancement devices (like a mouth guard)
- Tongue stabilizing devices
- Vestibular shields
- Nasal plugs and strips
- Chin straps
Many of these can be bought over the counter or online at a reasonable price. And to help you narrow down which might work best, ask your partner to do these simple snoring tests.
Do you know what makes your partner’s snoring better or worse? How do you cope with it? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.