How to grab some sleep beside a snorer
According to the most recent Sleep Health Survey of Australian Adults, we’ve been losing quality of sleep since 2010. Perhaps part of our nation’s sleep deprivation is that 24% of men and 17% of women are snoring loudly. That’s a lot of kicking, tossing, turning and snorting around the country.
Snoring is a physiological condition. In some cases, it can be a symptom of potentially life threatening health risks. For some, snoring can be minimised through healthy weight loss and exercise. There are also loads of promises of relief from snore inducing sleep disorder, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) but in many cases, loud snoring will continue to rumble your bedroom.
Sleep deprivation can contribute to serious health risks. Not getting enough restorative sleep over weeks, months, or years, can contribute to poor physical and mental health and put you at risk of accidents due to poor responsiveness. If you’re a bed partner of a snorer that has tried everything without relief, what can you do to make sure you get some quality sleep?
1 Try some ear plugs designed for partners of snorers
Ear plugs don’t suit everyone. Some people have ear canals that are too sensitive or too narrow, or simply find plugging their ears too uncomfortable. Other people don’t like cancelling out noises that might alert them to something that needs their attention through the night. For those that do find an ear plug that is comfortable and works to block out the low frequency noises coming from their partner, the solution can be positively life changing. Hello sleep!
Persevere. It can take weeks of trial and error of different types of earplugs to find the right ones for you. Don’t go buying in bulk before you try them.
Quality ear plugs often come with a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). To block low frequency snoring, you’ll need a NRR number above 30.
Ear hygiene is critical for your health once you start using ear plugs regularly. You don’t want to be compacting ear wax deep into your ear. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer or seek advice from your doctor.
2 Invest in some noise cancelling wireless headphones
This solution is an expensive one but can be effective if you’re okay with wearing headphones to bed. If you’re a side sleeper, headphones may not be the right solution for you as you’ll end up with a sore head. Investing in a good quality memory foam pillow may help to absorb the pressure of the headphones. This solution works best when you plan to try to fall asleep before your snoring partner by listening to music that relaxes you, or an audiobook or a soothing guided meditation.
There are also soft headband headphones on the market designed for sleeping, however from the online reviews I’ve read their ability to block out snoring is not as effective as noise cancelling headphone technology can offer.
3 Try some white noise
White noise is any constant drone of background noise that is even in tone and volume. Going to sleep with (almost) white noise such as the television, radio or background music on may be effective in masking your partner’s low frequency snoring – until there is an ad break or a sudden drop or rise in volume. White noise soundscapes available via app downloads, or a white noise sound system are specially designed to drown out distracting noises.
4 Try a guided meditation app
Educators around Australia have been recommending guided meditation apps to help frustrated parents get their children to sleep. Guided meditations are a relaxing, soothing way to gradually help you drift into a mode where it is easier for you to go to sleep. Once again, best to try this solution so that you fall asleep before your snoring partner.
5 Enrol in meditation or yoga classes
Yoga and meditation take practice but at their very core is a focus on the efficiency and effectiveness of your breath. By concentrating on your breathing, and efficiently inhaling more oxygen than through normal shallower breathing, your parasympathetic nervous system will be soothed to a state that produces calm and helps promote sleep. For those of you that want a solution tonight, searching online will deliver a whole heap of videos and instruction on yogic breathing. Be patient with this one, it does take time to learn and make a habit of.
Always plan to fall asleep before your partner
If you’re trying to go to sleep when your partner is already reaching peak decibels, you’re not going to have a restful night ahead. This solution will take some work and planning if you’ve always gone to sleep later than your partner but it is the only chance you’ll have at grabbing some sleep. You may need to look at some strategies that will help you change your body clock, such as increasing your daily physical activity or setting the alarm to get up earlier, so you feel tired, earlier.
6 Agree some rules upfront such as rolling over your partner when they snore
It is the relaxed position of a snorers tongue and soft palate that creates the rumble. Talk to your partner about trying to change positions through the night. For example, rolling your partner onto their side and then propping them up with a pillow so they don’t just roll back on their back, may help to stop the snoring long enough for you to get back to sleep.
7 Set up your own bedroom
If all else fails, setting up your own bedroom could enhance your relationship and will definitely improve your health. Many couples, particularly from our middle years on, choose to sleep in separate bedrooms so that everyone gets the best night’s sleep. A spare bedroom complete with a quality mattress will be far better for both of you, than kicking one another out onto a posture-unfriendly couch. If you can’t stand the thought of permanently sleeping in separate beds, try one night together (restlessly) and the next night in a separate room, so you can catch up on the sleep you didn’t get the night before.
We know that many of our RCA Village residents love that their homes are spacious with two generous sized double bedrooms as well as a study, so they have exactly that option. That spare room is great for guests, but even better for back up for a good night’s sleep!
References and helpful sleep resources
Australian Sleep Health Foundation: advocate for healthy sleep by promoting sleep, raising awareness of sleep disorders and building partnerships with organisations.
Sleep Disorders Australia: a voluntary state based organisation providing information and support to sufferers of sleep disorders and their families.
SNORE Australia: Australian provider of overnight sleep studies, plus online resources and information.
(main image: johanneke-kroesbergen-kamps-190783/unsplash.com)