BedMD: What To Do When Your Partner Snores

By Michael Martin  |  Jan 31, 2016
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At the end of a long day, there’s nothing better than sliding into bed next to your partner. Until it starts… the snoring. No matter how close your relationship or comfortable your mattress, a partner who’s sawing logs can ruin your night. Don’t hit the couch just yet though. These six strategies can help you both sleep through the night.

Talk about it.

Don’t suffer in silence. Have a conversation about your partner’s snoring, but keep it light: “Are you tired this morning? You were really ripping it up last night” or, “Man, I felt like I was sleeping on the runway at LaGuardia all night. Did you sleep OK?” Text them the viral video of the woman whose snoring sounds like a WWI bomber. The response will usually be surprise, then an apology. But after you’ve had the conversation more times than Lindsay Lohan has had second chances, it’s time to move on to other strategies.

Have a wake-up or shake-and-roll policy.

Let your partner know that if their snoring wakes you up, you’ll try to shake them awake or try to re-orient them in bed. Most snoring occurs from sleeping on the back, when the base of the tongue and soft palate slide against the back of the throat and cause vibration. Ease your partner onto their side or prop up their head with an additional pillow. (Although if you choose the latter, you might have hell to pay in the A.M. for their stiff neck.)

Try Breathe-Right strips.

Those adhesive strips attach to the outside of the nose, opening the airway and easing congestion that can cause snoring. The company claims that Breathe-Right strips reduce snoring it up to 90% of people who use them, but a 2014 survey of studies published in the International Journal of General Medicine showed very mixed results. (I can report that they work for me, but they’re expensive, and the A.M. removal process is not the most sensual experience.) Major drugstores also stock anti-snoring sprays and tablets such as SnoreStop, which contains a mix of herbs that are intended to reduce inflammation and ease congestion. They might be worth a try.

Get a full-body pillow.

Having your partner sleep against a full-body pillow will encourage them to slumber on their side, which will discourage snoring. The Wamsutta Quilted Body Pillow ($20) is highly rated. Just don’t position it between you — that’ll make all these strategies redundant. And you might want to avoid any pillowcases printed with anime characters; as James Franco proved on 30 Rock, that could get creepy.

Start happy hour earlier.

Alcohol relaxes the muscles of the mouth and throat, which can lead to snoring. Stop drinking three hours before bedtime. (And you thought starting the conversation about snoring was tough.)

Make sure it’s not serious.

And now, the bummer: About 75% of chronic snoring is caused by obstructive sleep apnea, in which breathing is interrupted occasionally during sleep. It’s a potentially dangerous condition that can lead to high blood pressure and heart and liver problems, according to the Mayo Clinic. (And yes, the Mayo Clinic lists “sleep-deprived partners” as a complication of snoring, right after those liver problems.) Have your partner talk to their doctor, who may refer them to an ear, nose and throat specialist.


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