Partner's Snoring Keeping You Up At Night? 6 Strategies To Try
If you've never been woken up in the middle of the night by your partner's snoring, count yourself lucky. It's estimated 40% of men and 24% of women are habitual snorers—and unless you happen to be a heavy sleeper, sharing the bed with a snorer can put a damper on a restorative night's rest.
Luckily, there are things you (and your partner) can try to ensure you both get higher-quality sleep. Here are six that family medicine doctor Robert Rountree, M.D., shared with mbg co-founder and co-CEO Jason Wachob during a recent mbg masterclass:
6 strategies to try if your partner's snoring is messing with your sleep:
Suggest your partner get a checkup.
According to Rountree, there could be a medical explanation for your partner's snoring, so suggesting they bring it up during their next health checkup is a good first step. If they have a condition like sleep apnea, their doctor will be able to identify that and start to help them sleep through the night sans snoring.
Try a magnesium supplement.
When we're deficient in magnesium, Rountree notes, it can cause anxiety, irritability, and insomnia—all things you certainly want to avoid if your partner's snoring always wakes you up. "[Magnesium] is one of the first things you want to reach for if you want to calm down. It's a calming agent," Rountree says.* "What is it doing? it's relaxing blood vessels, improving blood flow," and aiding in a restful night's sleep.*
This one might go without saying, but don't be afraid to give your partner a nudge in the middle of the night. Rountree says sometimes, that's all it takes. "Have an agreement with the partner where you gently nudge them and say 'roll on your side' if that stops the snoring," he suggests.
Try the tennis ball trick.
Rountree first heard this somewhat unorthodox tip from one of his clients: If you sew a tennis ball onto the back of your pajamas so it hits your low back, it can prevent you from sleeping on your back—the sleeping position where the most people snore. Other small tricks to stop snoring naturally include elevating your head, turning on the humidifier or using a nasal strip before bed, and avoiding inflammatory foods and beverages (alcohol included!) at night.
Use a noise machine.
Any kind of white noise, or even a fan, can muffle the sound of the snoring. "For me, the sound of a fan is the most soothing thing in the world," Rountree says, "and I've seen that help with couples where the noise of one partner is affecting the other one. So, they put the sound generator on and/or use earplugs and it helps drown out the sound."
Consider a "sleep divorce."
And lastly, if the issue is persistent and nothing seems to be working, for the sake of your health, it may be time to consider a "sleep divorce" where you and your partner sleep in separate beds.
As for how to raise the idea, marriage and family therapist Weena Cullins, LMFT, previously gave this word of advice to mbg: "Be as honest as possible and include any connections you see between lack of rest and strained interactions between you and your partner. Approach any discussion about sleeping apart with sincerity and care."
The bottom line.
Some research suggests we sleep better with a partner by our side1. So while snoring is definitely a nuisance, with patience and some trial and error, your partner can (hopefully) find a way to keep it to a minimum so you can both sleep better, together. In the meantime, give Rountree's tips a try—and maybe grab yourself some earplugs.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.