It’s nighttime. You should be asleep. But you’re not. Because your partner, who’s lying next to you, is snoring, and you can’t sleep through the racket.
So what can you do, beside glare at your partner?
As it turns out, you do have options that will help you get a better night’s sleep. Here are seven tips to try.
Yes, this may be easier said than done. Sometimes, though, you can put the power of the mind to work and train yourself to ignore or downplay the sound of your partner’s snoring.
There are a few strategies you can try to distract yourself:
You may eventually be able to train yourself to not focus on the sound of snoring — or at least tune it out enough to fall (and stay) asleep.
One of the easiest and quickest solutions is to stuff your own ears with ear plugs to muffle or eliminate the sound of your partner sawing wood next to you.
Fortunately, you have a good array of choices, depending on your needs (and the volume of the snoring).
You can opt for inexpensive soft foam ear plugs that you can buy at the drugstore. You can also buy silicone noise-reducing ear plugs that are designed to be worn by people spending time in very noisy environments (think: rock concerts or airport runways).
If you don’t like the feeling of something inserted into your ear, slip on your noise-canceling headphones.
A white noise machine generates a steady consistent noise that’s soothing to listen to. If it works right, you’ll be lulled into sleep.
Some white noise machines offer options, too. You can choose to listen to the sound of ocean waves crashing on the sand or a waterfall.
If you don’t want to invest in a separate white noise machine, download a white noise or mediation app for your smartphone and let that play instead.
For some people, sleeping in the supine position — that is, lying on their backs — makes snoring worse. Research bears this out.
Although it’s become a cliché to elbow your snoring partner in the ribs so they’ll roll over onto their stomachs and (hopefully) stop snoring, sometimes changing position is truly all it takes.
Positional therapy (PT) is a treatment option specifically designed to help snorers avoid lying on their backs. There are several options you could try.
- Snore-reducing trainer. Imagine a padded weight belt that you sleep in. That’s basically the premise behind the trainer. It makes it hard for the wearer to sleep on their back, so they must roll over onto their side, where they may be less likely to snore.
- A tennis ball. In the middle of the night, when you’re eager to try anything, slip a tennis ball (or any other smooth object) underneath your partner’s back, which will make it uncomfortable for them to lie on their back.
- Head-positioning pillow. A head-positioning pillow, also sometimes called an anti-snore pillow, helps to properly align the user’s neck so they’re less likely to snore. You can order one online or pick one up at a local store, depending on how desperate you are for a good night’s sleep again. A
2015 studysuggests your partner might get a better night’s sleep using one, too.
Don’t just let your partner make excuses or insist that they don’t snore.
Instead, explain your concern and ask your partner to visit a doctor to be evaluated. Assure them that you’ll go with them if they’re uncomfortable going alone.
A sleep study can both determine how much they snore and assess the possible causes for their snoring. If the evaluation reveals that they suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), they can learn more about treatment options.
And there are indeed effective treatment options for people with OSA. Your partner might be a good candidate for:
- continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy
- bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) therapy
- an oral appliance, similar to a mouthguard, which can position your jaw or hold your tongue in place
Surgery is also a possibility when other therapies don’t work.
And don’t assume it’s just men who snore. Research suggests that women especially tend to underestimate and underreport their snoring tendencies. They’re also less likely to visit a sleep clinic to be evaluated.
Remember the old adage about how desperate times call for desperate measures? When all else fails, you might have to leave the room at night.
Don’t feel bad if you choose this option, especially if it works for you. Research backs you up. A 2002 study found that sleeping apart seemed to actually contribute to greater marital satisfaction when one spouse snored.
If you’re feeling lonely, though, be sure to let your partner know that you’d rather be together. This can encourage them to make adjustments.
Listening to your partner snoring loudly next to you, night after night, can definitely breed resentment, which can have a negative impact on your relationship.
But did you know that secondhand snoring, as it’s sometimes called, can also have a harmful effect on your health?
Sleep deprivation can cause memory problems, disrupt your mood, and even increase your risk of developing:
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
Your sleep loss could also be shortening your life expectancy. A 2010 analysis of three large population-based studies found that the mortality risk increased by 15 percent among people who only slept for 5 hours or fewer each night.
When you treat your partner’s snoring, you’re more likely to get a better night’s sleep. And your own health will improve when you get enough high-quality sleep.
Don’t just suffer in silence if you’re trying to slumber next to a partner who snores.
Multiple strategies for lessening the impact are available to you. Try them out until you find one that works for you.
And don’t be afraid to ask your partner for potential solutions, too. They just might surprise you.