As someone with an ex who used to snore with alarming regularity, I share your pain. Being woken up just as your drifting away by a sharp guttural nasal snort is among the most unpleasant sensations. And then there’s the next 3 hours of it.
How to sleep when someone is snoring?
You absolutely need earplugs if this is a regular problem, using these along with distancing yourself from the snorer by staying at the edge of the bed or going top-to-tail often works. Giving them a quick jolt can reset the snore if you’re lucky but if all that fails you’re going to have to find another room to sleep in, I’m afraid.
These practical strategies are going to get some serious elaboration in this article where I can hopefully share what has worked for me. I’ve got a pretty good system in place and there’ll probably be a couple of things you won’t have thought of…
How to sleep when it’s noisy because of snoring
You can count my ex in that last group and it probably cost me hundreds if not thousands of hours of sleep all totaled up. There have been other occasions where I’ve been kept up for hours by chainsaw-esque snorers in 16-bed dorms when I was traveling.
I don’t stay in dorms anymore…
The result of my snoring trials and tribulations have resulted in a 5-pronged approach that usually gets the job done, if not alleviate the suffering of going to bed with a snorer entirely.
· 1. Your initial go-to is earplugs. Honestly, if you are a real light sleeper or struggle with getting to sleep then I’d recommend wearing earplugs every night.
Once you get used to wearing them they aren’t at all uncomfortable and it’s a good safety net in case that snoring start just as you’re drifting off.
I’ll recommend my favorites a little later and just so you know, they’re a lot better than they used to be. And also before I forget don’t push cotton wool or other rubbish in your ear, that is genuinely dangerous and you should only be using earplugs that are designed specifically for the purpose of going in your ear.
· 2. Move them around. If you like being little spoon as you sleep but your partner is a huge snoreaholic, you’re going to have a bad time. Try suggesting (or pushing them into) a position lying on the edge of the bed and facing away from you to reduce the noise.
· 3. Sleep top-to-tail (with earplugs). Assuming that the snore is too loud even with earplugs in you can try sleeping top-to-tail, this will move you away from the source of the noise a little and make it quieter which may be the solution you need.
· 4. Wake the person up briefly. Possibly not the most ethical thing here but… I have found success with giving the person a quick jolt.
Sometimes you get lucky and the snore is gone, sometimes you don’t. Obviously, this is inadvisable if you’re staying in a hostel or something. (Believe me, there are times I’ve wanted to do this to people.)
· 5. Find another room. If all else fails then just get the hell out of there when the snore is a blaring. It pays to have an exit strategy.
A small pillow and duvet somewhere within easy reach and then flopping down on the sofa will take 30 seconds which is useful because uprooting and sleeping somewhere else seems like a big mission at 1 am. Even if you’re in a hostel type environment, there’s usually a common area where you can sleep for a few hours then migrate back when you’re all sleepy.
One last thing, if the snoring is really bad then it might be worth seeing a doctor. I know at least one person whose awful snoring was the result of sleep apnea and getting it sorted improved his life massively.
Alternative strategy: White Noise
My personal problem is that any noise wakes me up. Literally anything.
I’ve gone insane trying to go to sleep at the ticking of a quiet clock before. But what is problematic about snoring for many people is not the fact that it’s noise, it’s the irregular and sharp nature of the noise.
If this is sounding a little like you then a neat trick to solve the problem is to drown out the snoring with another form of noise – white noise. A propeller fan works pretty well and a tv set to an empty channel can suffice.
But in this modern age of infinite variety app stores, you can bet that there are a ton of different apps that will take care of the problem as well. Just set the sound you want, set the volume, place it in between you and the snorer and send yourself to sleep.
I have used this method to some effect before when I was bothered by a leaky pipe that kept dripping. It was somewhat effective for me. The noise didn’t have to go that high to drown out the noise from the pipe, the issue was that that was still loud enough to wake me up on occasion.
The app I used was called ‘Sleep Fan’ for iPhone and it was perfectly good if you need a recommendation.
What are the best options for earplugs/blocking out noise?
A good set of earplugs are an absolute must-have for any light sleeper and particularly those who share a bed with a snorer.
And I ain’t talking about those cheap foam things that couldn’t block out the sound from the flap of a butterfly’s wings. These days, there are some genuinely effective noise blocking devices.
Although due to the nature of sound waves, it is impossible to block all sound. Even if you were able to block everything that enters your ear canal, some soundwaves will still just travel through your head and ear and trigger the sound receptors in your ear.
My Recommendation for Ear Plugs
The best cheap all-purpose earplugs are these, here’s the product page on Amazon. They look a lot like the cheapo foam stuff that would hardly block anything but don’t let that fool you. They’re made from foam and have a Noise Reduction Rating of 32.
That link is to a big box of 200 pairs. Unfortunately, you do need a lot of them as after a while they lose their elasticity and it becomes harder to block out noise. Also they beceome a little grimy after a few uses…
When brand new they do a great job of dampening noise, better than anything I’ve ever used, but you must bear in mind that they are not perfect and no earplugs ever will be. Even noise-reducing headphones that I’ve tried are flawed and will still let lots of sound in.
Using them is tricky at first. You have to squeeze the foam into so it becomes as thin as possible then shove into your ear canal quickly. If you’ve done it right then the earplug will feel very secure against your ears and sometimes form a tight seal that stops noise getting in.
Personally, my left ear forms a nice seal whereas my right is always slightly loose whatever I do so I just sleep on my right ear. That works well enough for me.
You may also have heard about nasal strips that can stop you or a loved one snoring. I have no experience with these but there is some evidence that they can help, particularly in the case of nasal congestion or a deviated septum.
How to stop having to sleep with someone who snores
This one’s easy, just end the relationship.
In seriousness, snoring is a health issue that often has an underlying condition. As such, the only good advice is to see a qualified physician. If your partner cares about you then they’ll make the effort to improve their lives and yours by getting the problem looked at.
Should snorers sleep on their back or side or front?
Having experimented with snorers and how they lie when they’re sleeping, my instinct tells me that there is no good position for snorers. If those nasal tissues are gonna vibrate, then they’re gonna vibrate.
Looking around on the wise internet it seems that lying on your back is the worst position for snoring and sleeping on your side the most beneficial.
Other tips in this informative article are to not use a big pillow because you don’t want your neck arched and elevating your upper body – that last one sounds a bit unfeasible to me though!