Learn how your partner's snoring can affect your health

Learn how your partner's snoring can affect your health

Sleep is the one time of the day when you can tune out, relax and enjoy being at peace. There’s nothing better than cuddling up beside your partner to wind down after another long day…only to find that they begin to snore and keep you awake.

It’s easy to make light of what it’s like living – and sleeping – with someone who snores. Picture the frustrated partner lying wide awake in bed beside a slumbering and clueless snorer, contemplating the possibilities for revenge. Banishment to a spare bedroom? Maybe the garden shed would be better.

The constant vibrating noise which comes every time they breathe in and out throughout the night is very disruptive to both your sleep and theirs. While some couples may overlook it as a minor nuisance or suffer in silence (or lack thereof!), for most partners, it’s not that simple.

The truth is, snoring can be a serious issue for both the snorer and the partner. While the health effects of snoring, and the often-related sleep apnea, have been well documented, less attention is paid to the impact it can have on the partner.

Here are 7 ways their snoring is affecting your health:

1. Hearing Loss

While the noise from a snorer might seem like a chainsaw, the average sound doesn’t quite reach that level. However, it’s still loud enough to damage hearing. Studies have found that snoring can cause noise-induced hearing loss, especially in the ear that’s usually closer to the snorer. In fact, sleeping next to a snorer could be equivalent to sleeping next to an industrial machine.

2. Sleep deprivation

The obvious consequence for most partners of snorers – other than an irritation – is sleep deprivation. Often, the partner of the snorer may not even be aware of how frequently he or she is roused from sleep. According to a Mayo Clinic study, spouses of snorers waked, at least partially, an average of 21 times an hour. All these sleep disruptions add up – partners of snorers are more likely to report insomnia symptoms and lose, on average, an hour of sleep every single night.

Sleeping with a snorer can disrupt your sleep 21 times every hour.
These disruptions may cost you an hour of sleep every night.

3. Memory and Focus

An occasional sleepless night isn’t usually a cause for alarm, but prolonged periods of interrupted sleep can lead to daytime drowsiness, anxiety, distractibility, decreased performance and alertness as well as memory and cognitive impairment.

4. Anxiety and Depression

Sleep deprivation has an even stronger effect on mood. A lack of quality sleep can lead to an increase in the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Many studies have reported an association between poor sleep and stress, depression, anxiety, and alcohol use.

Poor sleep increases the production of cortisol, known as the “stress hormone.

5. Weight Control

While we know exercise and nutrition play key roles in weight maintenance, it’s becoming more clear that poor sleep is a risk factor for obesity. A lack of sleep increases the amount of insulin secreted after eating a meal, promoting fat storage. Obesity is strongly associated with the development of health conditions including type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

6. Cardiovascular Disease

Poor sleep on its own is also associated with a risk of cardiovascular disease including heart attacks and stroke. In fact, just one night of sleep loss has been shown to increase blood pressure in healthy people.

7. Relationship Health

Many couples resort to “solutions” like earplugs, snoring devices or even sleeping in separate rooms to deal with the stress of snoring — distancing them from one another and building feelings of resentment. The good news is that once snoring is properly addressed, relationship health often returns with studies showing increased marital satisfaction scores and quality-of-life scores.

Properly addressing snoring can significantly increase marital satisfaction and quality of life.

What can you do about their snoring?

There are many reasons as to why people snore as well as a wide range of effective treatments, which is why so it’s important to understand the specific causes behind their situation. Once they understand the reasons behind it, they can find the best solutions specific to their case and get a better night’s sleep- for the good of both them and you.

Tips to Help Stop the Snoring

The first thing to do if you have a snoring spouse is to try to manage the snoring itself so you can try and restore the quality of sleep you both get.

Ask yourself is: how long have you noticed them snoring? Is it only recent or has it been happening for a while? Examining their habits may offer you a little insight into what may be causing the issue in the first place.

Addressing the factors causing snoring can greatly help your partner overcome their nightly snoring. For example, reducing their consumption of alcohol or cigarettes, especially at night, can go a long way in ruling those causes out.

In addition to this, you could try the following:

Sleeping Position

If your snoring partner sleeps on their back, you can try using a pillow to elevate their head or turn them onto their side. These positions place them more at an angle and help open the airways as they sleep, reducing the vibrations in their throat.

Different Sleep Schedules

If you know your partner snores, perhaps a simple solution may be to go to bed earlier than they do. This will give you plenty of time to relax and fall asleep in silence before they join you later on.

Background Noise

Playing some gentle sounds, such as white-noise or soft instrumental music may help mask the snoring noise so that you can improve the quality of your sleep.

Soft Earplugs

The removal of the noise may be a temporary solution to the snoring issue. Wearing soft and non-invasive earplugs will help you block out the sound so you can get a better night’s sleep.

Body Weight

Being overweight is quite a common cause of snoring, as excessive weight can increase the tissue size around the neck and place extra pressure on breathing passageways. Improving their diet in order for them to lose a few kilograms may ease this issue.


Having a dry mouth or throat can amplify snoring sounds as the passageways lose their flexibility. Keeping a glass of water conveniently beside the bed will help your partner remain hydrated before and during the night which will soften the passageways and allow easier breathing.

Sleeping Apart

We put this last for a reason. While it’s never desirable for partners to sleep apart, especially over longer periods of time, sleeping in different rooms during the night can help you get some relief. Just don’t forget to make alternative times for intimacy.

When Should You Go See A Doctor?

It’s easy to overlook snoring because people often underestimate how serious it can be. If the above tips and tricks are simply not working and you’re noticing that your partner’s snoring is just not improving, it’s time to book a visit to see your doctor or sleep professional.

Loud and reoccurring snoring may be an indication of other problems that your doctor may need to diagnose. If you hear your partner snoring or gasping for air frequently throughout the night, it could mean they have Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

People who suffer from sleep apnea have a chronic condition of restricted airways, meaning that they snore frequently. Unfortunately, their snoring is so severe that they actually stop breathing for a few seconds at a time throughout the night, causing them to briefly wake up with a choke, take in the oxygen they need, and resume breathing. This happens over and over again all night, often without them even realizing it. Besides your personal discomfort from the noise, waking up like this is quite stressful on their body and not conducive to a restful night of sleep.

When left untreated, this condition can also lead to an increase in the risk of suffering from depressed moods, car accidents, and injury.

At your appointment, your doctor or sleep professional will ask you both several questions about your sleeping habits and encourage you to take a home sleep test or test at a sleep clinic to monitor their snoring habits and investigate their condition further. This is the most accurate way of determining the right solution for your loved one, so you can both rest at ease.
Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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