March 06, 2023 3 min read
With half of the population snoring frequently and nearly everyone snoring on occasion , you will probably find yourself sleeping next to a snorer at some point in your life. The snorer could be a family member, your spouse, a friend, a roommate or a fellow passenger on a long flight.
But no matter the person or occasion, snoring is annoying and can disrupt your own sleep. So, if you find yourself in such a situation, is it ever ok to wake the snorer and ask them to stop the noise?
Because people don’t snore on purpose, it can feel insensitive or rude to wake the snorer. After all, they can’t control their snoring habit, so what’s the point? Many snorers are also in denial about their snoring and may react with irritability to your requests to keep it quiet.
But waking a snorer can be helpful in some cases. Gently nudging the snorer and telling them to switch to a side-sleeping position, for example, is often quite effective. A study involving 16 snorers and sleep apnea patients examined to what level switching to this sleep position helps stop snoring . What it found was that this sleep position reduced mild snoring by 80%. Older research found that sleep apnea is also twice as severe when people sleep on their backs .
But of course, waking the snorer doesn’t always work. If they’re a heroic snorer or have untreated sleep apnea, they’ll likely snore in every sleeping position. In many cases, snoring-back sleepers revert back to their natural sleep position as soon as they fall asleep again.
If the snorer in question is someone close to you and if their snoring is loud and frequent, you should first encourage them to see a sleep specialist.
Habitual snoring, defined as snoring more than two nights a week, is one of the first signs of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) . OSA is a serious condition marked by frequent pauses in breathing during sleep. Untreated, it increases a person’s risk of high blood pressure, stroke and even depression . So getting screened is important to ensure someone’s snoring problem isn’t a sign of OSA.
In the meantime, you can take these precautionary steps to ensure you’re getting your much-needed rest:
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