Sleeping with someone who snores can be a health hazard. If you live with or are married to a snorer, waking up in the morning can be exhausting, and your days may often pass in a sleepy haze.
Snoring is a sound produced during sleep by the vibrating of soft tissues over the throat’s lax muscles.
You may ignore mild snoring as a long day of work is bound to result in little grunts. But snorers who sound like terrifying chainsaws cutting down forests every night can put your relationship on the line.
Sleeping with a snorer splits your sleep into many unnatural fragments, resulting in interrupted sleep. It can even cause breakups.
Snoring can be a relationship killer. It can make you angry at your partner without being able to express it to them.
How To Sleep With Someone Who Snores (Without Using Earplugs)
When you do not get enough sleep due to your spouse’s snoring, you become irritable. You can blow minor issues out of proportion.
The negative effects build up over time, creating unresolvable stress in your relationship. So, how to sleep with a snorer without harming your relationship or health?
Here are 11 ways to help you sleep with someone who snores (without using earplugs):
1. Clean Up Your Co-Sleeping Area
Many objects around your sleeping area can cause you to snore because of an allergic reaction.
An undetected allergy can lead you to snore loudly, such as a plant in your bedroom, or sheets that haven’t been washed in a long time and are teeming with microscopic germs.
Identifying the causes of snoring might be difficult. Rugs and covers are notorious for collecting dust mites.
- Dust the entire room. Clean up the areas around your bed to get rid of any hidden allergens.
- Every week, spray-sanitize your bedroom and let it air for a few hours before sleeping in it.
- Throw out anything in your bedroom that you haven’t used in weeks.
- Declutter ruthlessly and make your bedroom minimalist.
2. Get Them To Try These Mouth & Throat Exercises
There is no universally accepted standard treatment for primary snoring or snoring with mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). But research seems to offer some good news for sleep-deprived snorers.
A Brazilian study discovered that in patients with primary snoring or mild OSA, mouth and tongue workouts reduced snoring frequency by 36% and total power by 59% (Ieto & Kayamori, Effects of oropharyngeal exercises on snoring, 2015).
Here are the tongue and mouth exercises the participants did, and that you can try:
- Pushing the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth and sliding the tongue backward.
- Sucking the tongue upward against the roof of the mouth, and pressing the entire tongue against the roof of the mouth.
- Forcing the back of the tongue against the floor of the mouth while keeping the tip of the tongue in contact with the bottom, and front teeth.
- And elevating the back of the roof of the mouth and uvula while saying the vowel “A.”
Simple yoga breathing techniques also help reduce snoring and strengthen the diaphragm. As an added bonus, yoga exercises also help reduce stress levels and calm the mind.
3. Help Them Unblock Nasal Passages With Nasal Sprays
Snoring is frequently caused by a blocked or congested nose (allergic rhinitis).
Rinsing a stuffy nose with salt water or medicated nasal sprays can ease breathing and significantly reduce snoring.
These nasal sprays could contain:
- antihistamines (azelastine, ebastine, olopatadine),
- steroids (mometasone, beclomethasone),
- decongestants (pseudoephedrine),
- mast-cell inhibitors (cromolyn),
- anticholinergics (ipratropium),
- saline or normal salt water.
Consult your doctor if you are on muscle relaxant medications, such as tranquilizers like lorazepam and diazepam, as they can make snoring worse.
Do not self-medicate with prescription medicines.
How often can you use saline nasal sprays?
Saline nasal sprays are natural and generally safe to use for allergies and colds. You may use them as frequently as you like to treat nasal congestion. However, excessive use may irritate and cause a burning sensation in the nasal mucosa.
4. Humidify The Bedroom
Dry rooms can give you a hard time breathing. Installing a humidifier in your bedroom can help lessen the severity of snoring.
5. Ask Them (And Roll Them) To Sleep On Their Side
Sleeping while lying on one’s back can cause a person to snore.
Sleeping on your side is the best position to sleep in if you snore. Sleeping on your side relieves the inflamed compressed airways, allowing them to expand up and prevent snoring.
It makes the tongue and palate collapse to the wall of the throat, causing it to vibrate. Using a body pillow provides an easy fix as it helps you sleep on your side.
6. Help Them Lose Some Weight
If you started snoring after you put on weight, weight loss may help.
Gaining weight around your neck squeezes the throat, making the airway passage narrow. It collapses when you sleep, thus making you snore. However, weight loss doesn’t help everyone — since thin people snore too.
7. Get Them To Abstain From Alcohol
Alcohol reduces the resting tone of the muscles of your throat. Drinking a few hours before sleeping can turn you into a logging machine. Avoid alcohol at least six hours before sleeping.
8. Get Ample Sleep When They Are Away or Awake
Working for hours without enough sleep makes your muscles floppy when you finally drop onto your bed. Proper sleep and rest help reduce snoring.
9. Get Them To Stay Well Hydrated
Secretion in the nose and soft palate become sticky when you are not hydrated enough. This can cause you to snore. So, drink plenty of fluid throughout the day.
10. Seek Help To Use Use Mechanical Anti-Snoring Methods
Anti-snoring devices, like nasal clips and jaw straps, increase airflow or reduce turbulent airflow.
Nasal strips may only be effective for persons who have narrow nostrils since snoring is caused by the collapse of tissues in the throat rather than the nostrils.
Anti-snoring chin straps may help mouth-snorers, who sleep with their throats open, allowing air to ripple around as they sleep. These straps keep the mouth tight, stopping the noisy air passage, and stopping snoring.
Some other mechanical methods to stop snoring are:
- Orthopedic pillows — these help keep the jaw open and slightly forwards.
- Dental fixtures — Anti-snoring appliances like dental fixtures help reduce snoring. However, they are merely temporary fixes.
- Surgery — Tissues can be removed from the back of the throat to widen the air passage.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) — A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine pumps a steady stream of air through a mask worn over the nose and mouth.
11. Sleep Separately In A Different Bedroom
When all other remedies fail, this extreme measure can help the non-snoring partner to sleep soundly: Sleep Separately.
Your spouse might not be aware of their night-time blaring causing you to wake up exhausted in the morning. Even you might not be aware that you snore at the cost of disturbing your spouse’s sleep.
Couples usually shy away from addressing such a problem dismissing it to be trivial. But any such problem that can put your relationship at risk should be talked about openly for resolution.
Sleeping in different rooms may not appear to be an easy or practical choice for every couple, as sleeping apart can cause a rift between them. However, it is far preferable than sleeping together with a partner who snores constantly and does not let you get enough sleep.
Talk about it with your partner before taking the step of selling in a different room.
If the partner is okay with sleeping apart, it can actually save their relationship.
What Causes Someone To Snore?
Most snoring is the result of throat muscle weakness, air passage narrowing, and tissue collapsing.
When air cannot readily pass through your throat and nasal cavities, you snore. It causes the tissues around it to vibrate.
Many people snore because of their age, lifestyle, being overweight, bad health, blocked sinuses, and sleeping position.
As people age, their throats become narrower making the tissues prone to vibration. Smoking and drinking can also cause people to snore.
People who are out of shape snore more as more fat accumulation means more obstruction in the throat.
Snoring may also be a sign of sleep apnea which increases the risk of developing heart disease.
In fact, snoring is the first and most common symptom of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition when the air stops flowing into your lungs for 10 or more seconds.
- Stuck BA, Hofauer B. The Diagnosis and Treatment of Snoring in Adults. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2019;116(48):817-824. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2019.0817
- Koulivand PH, Khaleghi Ghadiri M, Gorji A. Lavender and the nervous system. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:681304. doi:10.1155/2013/681304
- American Thoracic Society. Oral appliances for sleep apnea in adults.
Snoring can create health concerns for snorers. Talking about it is the first step toward treating it.
Simple changes in daily habits and lifestyles go a long way in curing mild to moderate snoring.
Remember, CPAP is an easily available, common, non-surgical option to handle your sleep partner’s exhausting snoring habit.
People suffering from sleep apnea should go for an overnight sleep study with their doctor’s consultation.
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Find Out How Your “Internal Clock” Can Affect Your Sleep Health.
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Authors Bios: Katherine Dilworth wrote an early, short version of this article. Edited and rewritten by Sandip Roy—a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes on mental health, happiness, positive psychology, mindfulness, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).
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