Does Your Partner Snore? Here’s What To Do To Help You Both Sleep Soundly
Sleep is one of the most enjoyable parts of every day, and there’s nothing nicer than snuggling up next to your partner to wind down after another busy day. But it’s not so nice when they begin to snore, keeping you awake.
Nothing is more disruptive to your sleep and theirs than the constant vibrating noise that comes every time they breathe in and out throughout the night. While some couples may find it frustrating or overlook it as a minor nuisance, for most partners, it’s not that easy.
So if you are someone who is having to try and catch a few winks next to a person snoring all night, it’s time to find some solutions.
Snoring: an issue on both sides
We all love our partners, but why do they have to breathe so loudly when we’re supposed to be resting? It can be a thoroughly frustrating experience for both parties – the snorer suffers from poor quality sleep, while you struggle to nod off against the backdrop of constant noise. This can be incredibly disruptive – people who sleep next to a person who snores are likely to be fatigued and experience all of the common symptoms that come along with sleep deprivation, such as irritation, or a lack of concentration, simply because they are being kept awake throughout the night from a loud partner.
In certain cases, snoring volumes can get so loud that they can cause hearing issues for their partner. It’s not surprising because some snoring can reach up to 80 decibels, which is the equivalent to a jack hammer or motorcycle1.
It’s no pleasant experience for the snorer either! They often experience anxiety and embarrassment about sleeping amongst other people when they travel, and feel personally responsible for causing an intimacy breakdown in their relationships by forcing their partners to either deal with their nightly habit or sleep in different rooms.
Thankfully, a few tips and a little education can go a long way in helping you catch more ZZZs even if your bed neighbour is ‘sawing wood all night’. Learning how to manage this can greatly improve your ongoing quality of sleep
What happens when they snore?
Snoring is not that uncommon. Approximately 50% of all adults snore on occasion, while around 25% of all adults are actually routine snorers. It is also most common in men, and the severity of the snoring typically increases as we get older2.
The sound your partner produces when snoring while asleep occurs when air is restricted either though their nose or in their throat. When lying down, the muscles in their upper airway relax which creates what is known as ‘airflow turbulence’.
When the air is breathed in and out, the surrounding tissue vibrates, causing that familiar shuddering sound. If the muscles relax too much, they can cause a complete blockage in the airway, which stops breathing altogether, causing them to choke or cough to clear it.
Unfortunately, these subconscious responses can lead to disruptions in their sleep patterns and overall sleep quality, not to mention yours too. If snoring continues night after night, the effects can get quite serious. You may find that they experience daytime fatigue, irritability, headaches and other health problems. Additionally, the loud and repetitive sound can impact you each and every night.
Why is your partner snoring?
There are two main causes for snoring: temporary and structural factors.
Snoring can be caused by a range of temporary factors, including sedative use, consumption of alcohol, excessive smoking, seasonal allergies, swollen tonsils, sleeping position and the cold or flu. These factors occur for a short time and are not permanent.
For example, smoking can inflame airways, pollen may cause an allergic reaction, while alcohol and medication can relax the muscles within the throat, all of which restricts airflow. Generally removing these temporary causes may solve the problem and restore quiet to the bedroom once again.
Structural factors are more long-term, and include excessive weight around the neck and the shape of their palate, nose and jaw.
For example, the nasal passages may be blocked due to polyp growth or a structural abnormality, or there may be irregularities with the soft palate or muscle tone within the throat which makes breathing while sleeping difficult.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
importantly, snoring can be an indicator of a more serious condition, known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This condition can pose serious risks to your partner’s health due to diabetes, stroke and heart disease3. This will be discussed more, below.
What can you do about your partner’s 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.
Unfortunately, there can be serious medical consequences for your partner if their snoring is left untreated, including a lack of focus, daytime drowsiness due to interrupted sleep, low libido, and embarrassment.
However, if snoring is related to sleep apnea, then there can be a potential risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and irregular heartbeat.
How to manage or stop the snoring
The first thing to 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. Our free sleep diary offers a system that you can use to log sleep-related behaviours over a period of 7 days, which will give a bigger picture of the potential issues.
This article will give you a good idea of the factors that might be causing their snoring. Successfully addressing these factors 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.
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. A combination of improved diet and exercise can help them shed a few kilograms, which may be sufficient to ease this issue.
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.
Having a dry mouth or throat can amplify snoring sounds as the passageways lose their flexibility. Try keeping a glass of water conveniently beside the bed to help your partner remain hydrated before and during the night which will soften the passageways and allow easier breathing.
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.
Stagger Your Sleep Times
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.
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.
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. But just remember to make time for intimacy at different hours!
When to seek professional help with snoring
Snoring is often overlooked because people underestimate how serious it can be. If the above remedies are just not working and you’re noticing that your partner’s snoring is getting worse and not better, it’s time to see a sleep professional.
Habitually loud snoring can indicate that something may be seriously wrong. If you hear your partner snorting 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 repeatedly all night, often without them even realising.
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. Many who have sleep apnea also suffer from high blood pressure4 and other related conditions, so if you suspect your partner has sleep apnea, get in touch with us and either order a basic home sleep test or an advanced sleep test with EdenSleep.
The basic home sleep test is a DIY kit that EdenSleep sends to you, which includes all the equipment and instructions needed to test your sleep in the comfort of your own home, and send the results back for interpretation.
The advanced sleep test uses more complex equipment, providing in-depth recordings that allow sleep physiologists to create a detailed report on your night’s sleep. This test will measure obstructive and central sleep apnea, and is suitable for specialist consultation and health insurance claims.
However, if you or your partner are reluctant or nervous to take the step of getting professional help at this stage, you might find it easier to take a sleep assessment questionnaire first, before considering other steps.
How a free sleep assessment can help with a snoring partner
If your partner is experiencing problems with sleeping due to snoring, you may wish to refer them to undertake a free sleep assessment to better understand how to improve their restful state and overall health. The assessment asks them a series of simple questions designed to help both of you uncover the cause, and the results will be conveniently sent to them via an email.
You can access the Sleep Assessment here:
 Fairfax Media New Zealand, Stuff. Is snoring anything to worry about? http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/well-good/teach-me/88485152/is-snoring-anything-to-worry-about. Accessed 23/10/2017
 Southern Cross Medical Library. Snoring – causes, treatment, surgery. https://www.southerncross.co.nz/group/medical-library/snoring-causes-treatment-surgery. Accessed 23 October 2017.
 Family Health Diary. Snoring and Sleep Apnoea. https://www.familyhealthdiary.co.nz/conditions/snoring-and-sleep-apnoea/. Accessed 23 October 2017
 Sleep Apnoea Association Of New Zealand Inc. How Do I know If It’s Sleep Apnoea? http://www.sleepapnoeanz.org.nz/respiratory_arrest.shtml. Accessed 23 October 2017