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5 Tips for Sleeping With Someone Who Snores

Chronic, loud snoring can be bad for the person doing the snoring, but what about the person lying next to them?

As it turns out, sleeping next to a snorer can be almost as bad for your health1. Research shows that sleeping next to someone who snores can result in an increased risk of accidents, depression, anxiety, short- and long-term memory problems, a weakened immune system, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.1 

In short, all of the things that your snoring partner is at risk for, so are you. This is because quality sleep is essential for every bodily process2. If snoring is waking you throughout the night, it can damage your health – not to mention create resentment in the relationship. 

So here, we’ll go over five tips for sleeping with someone who snores. We’ll also discuss how to treat snoring once and answer your most frequently asked questions.

How to Sleep When Someone Is Snoring

1. Wear Earplugs

Recent research shows that wearing earplugs can significantly reduce sleep disturbances3 in general, and a study from 20064 shows that earplugs are an effective short-term treatment, specifically for those sleeping next to someone who snores.

The key to buying earplugs for sleep is that they fit snugly to block out sound but still feel comfortable through the night. However, if earplugs alone aren’t enough to block out noise, there are certain headphones designed for sleep. If you go this route, we’d recommend putting on calming meditation music and/or white noise. 

2. Use a White Noise Machine

For some people, wearing earplugs or headphones throughout the night can feel uncomfortable or constrictive, in which case, a white noise machine can be a great option. 

White noise is the sound that is produced when you combine all audible frequencies. That is why it’s called “white” noise – combining all of the different frequencies (or colors) of light results in white light. In this same way, white noise is a combination of all the different frequencies of sound, and because of this, white noise is well known for masking all other sounds.

White noise has been shown to improve sleep quality5 in those who sleep in noisy environments. 

3. Go to Bed Before Them

Some people find it helpful to go to sleep before their snoring partner. The reason for this is that it gives you time to reach a deeper state of sleep so that you’re less likely to be disturbed by the sounds of snoring. 

Generally, it can take about an hour6 to reach deep sleep. In this case, just plan your bedtime for one hour earlier than your partner’s.

Learn more: Stages of Sleep

4. Improve Your Own Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene describes your daily routines and bedroom environment that either help or hinder your quality of sleep. This can encompass everything from the makeup of your mattress to the amount or even type of media you consume before bed. 

A few of the most important habits to implement for better sleep quality include: 

  • Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day 
  • Creating a regular bedtime routine that helps you wind down
  • Getting daily exercise 
  • Avoiding alcohol and caffeine in the afternoon or evenings 
  • Limiting your exposure to blue light at night 
  • Making sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet

While these good sleep habits won’t stop your partner from snoring, they could help you sleep more soundly so that you’re less likely to be woken up by the noise. 

5. Sleep in Different Rooms

Some couples choose to sleep separately, also known as a sleep divorce. In fact, more than one-third of Americans7 report sleeping in separate rooms, either regularly or occasionally. While the term “sleep divorce” may sound dramatic or scary, usually couples decide to sleep separately for some pretty pragmatic reasons, which might include different bedtime schedules, different mattress needs, different desires for noise versus quiet, and of course, snoring. 

Experts say8 that sleeping in separate bedrooms could not only improve your sleep quality, but also the health of your relationship, the intimacy between you, and your mental and physical health. If sharing a bedroom with your partner is causing you to lose sleep, whether it’s because of snoring or something else, it might be time to consider a sleep divorce.


How to Stop Someone From Snoring

We know it might feel tempting to give your snoring partner a good kick, but we’d recommend going a different route. While treatments for snoring will depend on what’s causing their snoring, we’ll cover some general snoring remedies. 

  • Change their sleep position – When we sleep, the muscles in the throat and tongue relax. These relaxed tissues vibrate together9 in some people, creating the sound of snoring, and for many folks, lying on their back makes this worse, as gravity allows the tongue to fall backward. Instead, have your partner try sleeping on their side to see if that clears up their snoring. 
  • Have them elevate their head – If side sleeping just won’t work for your partner, try having them elevate their head while sleeping on their back. You can do this by using a higher pillow or perhaps with an adjustable base bed. Recent research shows that sleeping at an incline like this can reduce snoring10 and symptoms of mild sleep apnea. 

Helpful finds: Best Pillows for Snoring

  • Try nasal strips – Nasal strips are a type of anti-snoring device that helps open up the nasal passages. Experts recommend11 nasal strips specifically for occasional snoring caused by congestion but not for consistent, loud snoring caused by something like sleep apnea. 
  • Lifestyle changes – Several lifestyle and underlying health issues can cause snoring. For example, being overweight is one of the most common causes12 of both snoring and sleep apnea. Research shows that weight loss is often an effective, long-term treatment for both.12 

If your partner’s snoring is not caused by excess weight, they might look at whether or not they’re drinking in the evenings, and what medications they’re taking. Studies show that alcohol as well as sedative medications (opioids and certain sleeping pills, for example), further relax the muscles in the throat, which can lead to snoring or even sleep apnea.9 

  • Consult a doctor If your partner is snoring regularly and loudly, it might be time to see a doctor to test for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which the sleeper starts and stops breathing13 throughout the night. Some of the most obvious symptoms you might notice from your partner include loud snoring, gasping for breath occasionally during the night, pauses in their breathing, and morning headaches or dry mouth.13

Their doctor may want to go over their symptoms and then recommend them for a sleep study to take a closer look at what’s going on. If your partner’s snoring is due to sleep apnea, a proper diagnosis can allow them to receive important treatment like CPAP therapy, which could help you both achieve a better night’s sleep. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to sleep when someone is snoring?

While it is possible to sleep while someone is snoring, it can certainly make things more difficult. If your bed partner’s snoring wakes you up at night, try earplugs, headphones, a white noise machine, going to bed before them, and making sure your own sleep hygiene is good. If all else fails, sleeping in another room might be the best choice.

What position should someone who snores sleep in?

People who snore should sleep either on their side or stomach since back sleeping can worsen snoring.9

Why do people snore so loud?

If somebody is snoring extremely loudly on a regular basis, it is likely a sign of an underlying issue like sleep apnea.13 Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the more common form, affects about 5 to 10 percent[14] of people worldwide, and it can lead to dangerous health consequences if not treated. If you suspect your partner has OSA, talk to your doctor. 

Natalie G.

Natalie G.

Writer

About Author

Natalie is a content writer for Sleep Advisor with a deep passion for all things health and a fascination with the mysterious activity that is sleep. Outside of writing about sleep, she is a bestselling author, improviser, and creative writing teacher based out of Austin.

Combination Sleeper

    Resources

  • 1. “Sleeping with a Snorer: Are Both Doomed to Bad Sleep?”. University Hospitals. 2022.
  • 2. Jansen, Erica. “Sleep 101: Why Sleep Is So Important to Your Health”. University of Michigan School of Public Health. 2020.
  • 3. Khoddam, Homeira., et al. “The effects of earplugs and eye masks on sleep quality of patients admitted to coronary care units: A randomised clinical trial”. National Library of Medicine. 2021.
  • 4. Robertson, S., Loughran, S., MacKenzie, K. “Ear protection as a treatment for disruptive snoring: do ear plugs really work?”. National Library of Medicine. 2006.
  • 5. Ebben, Matthew R., Yan, Peter., Krieger, Ana C. “The effects of white noise on sleep and duration in individuals living in a high noise environment in New York City”. National Library of Medicine. 2021.
  • 6. “How Much Deep, Light and REM Sleep Do You Need?”. Texas Health. 2024.
  • 7. “AASM Sleep Prioritization Survey”. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. 2024.
  • 8. “How ‘Sleep Divorce’ Can Help Your Relationship & Overall Health”. Hackensack Meridian Health. 2024.
  • 9. “Snoring”. Yale Medicine. Webpage accessed November 10, 2024.
  • 10. Danoff-Burg PhD, Sharon., et al. “Sleeping in an Inclined Position to Reduce Snoring and Improve Sleep: In-home Product Intervention Study”. JMIR Formative Research. 2022.
  • 11. “Do Nasal Strips Really Work to Stop Snoring?”. Florida Sinus & Snoring Specialists. Webpage accessed November 10, 2024.
  • 12. “Losing Tongue Fat Improves Sleep Apnea”. Penn Medicine News. 2020.
  • 13. “Sleep Apnea”. Mayo Clinic. Last modified April 6, 2024.
  • 14. “Obstructive Sleep Apnea”. Cleveland Clinic. Last modified November 15, 2022.