At the end of a long day, we are all looking for the solace of a quiet bedroom and the rejuvenation that comes from a great night’s sleep. There are several things that might keep you from that goal. One of the most common, and challenging to overcome, is the snoring of a slumbering partner.
According to the University of Utah, up to 40% of adult men and 24% of adult women snore regularly. Regardless of what causes it—blocked nasal passages, sleep position, obesity, sleep apnoea or something else—snoring is often intensely disruptive to the person on the receiving end of the honks, gurgles and snorts. Indeed, the loudest snorers can hit 80–90 decibels, as loud as the average lawnmower.
So it’s important to understand the impact of snoring and how minimising snoring is essential to maintaining your mind and body health—as well as maintaining a healthy relationship with loved ones.
Lying awake listening to your partner snore every night can understandably and quickly contribute to feelings of frustration and fatigue. A study conducted by Rush University Medical Center found that one woman’s sleep efficiency (the amount of time she actually slept during the night) fell to an average of 73% because of her husband’s snoring, whereas the average person’s sleep efficiency is around 90%. This nearly 20% reduction could spill into daytime productivity, mood and even biological functions, possibly leading to longer-term health issues.
A partner’s chronic snoring and the frustration caused by it can also significantly impact the relationship. In a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 58% of respondents said that feeling sleepy “at least occasionally” affects their mood, and more than 25% said that their sleepiness had an impact on their relationships. A study by Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center determined that when both partners slept less than seven hours for at least two consecutive nights, they were more likely to argue or “become hostile” with each other. As a result, it’s no wonder that snoring has become one of the leading causes of divorce.
“This nearly 20% reduction (of sleep efficiency) could spill into daytime productivity, mood and even biological functions, possibly leading to longer-term health issues”.
Is there a way to give yourself a chance of sleeping through your partner’s snoring? For the sake of your relationship and health, hopefully yes. Here are a few tips for better sleep to help make it so.
This is usually the first thing the non-snorer tries, and it can be a simple and inexpensive solution. Earplugs today are also available in different, mouldable materials and with customisable ear tips, so if you’ve never enjoyed those classic little foam ones, then maybe a soft silicone pair might work.
Bose Sleepbuds™ II are small wireless earbuds that have been designed specifically for sleep. They’re used with the Bose Sleep app, which has a library of more than 50 relaxing tracks, including a range of noise masking sounds that can cover sleep-disturbing noises like snoring. Unlike a stand-alone white noise machine, these sounds will go directly into your own ears. In a Bose-sponsored sleep study by the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the UCHealth CARE Innovation Center, 100% of participants reported that Bose Sleepbuds™ were “effective at blocking environmental noise”, 86% reported that they fell asleep more quickly when wearing Bose Sleepbuds™ and 82% reported an overall improvement in their sleep quality.
If you’ve tried and exhausted several other solutions and you’re still exhausted yourself, perhaps it’s time to consider sleeping in separate bedrooms. It’s not unheard of. The Better Sleep Council reports that 9% of American couples sleep in separate spaces and it seems to help many. “Some couples feel strongly that sleeping apart has made their relationship more solid”, one relationship expert told the New York Times.
Whichever tip or combination of tips you try for better sleep, it’s essential to find a solution that helps you get consistently good, uninterrupted sleep. A big part of this may be encouraging the snorer to seek help, as snoring can be an indicator of more serious health issues that need to be addressed. Not only will your body, mind and spirit thank you when you learn how to sleep better, but your loved ones will too.