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Second Hand Snoring / Sleep Stealing

June 6, 2012

Did you know sleeping with a snorer can take a toll on YOUR health and wellness? People sleeping next to loved ones that snore have also reported excessive day-time sleepiness and fatigue, along with their snoring partners. Research now shows that in relationships, both individuals feel the effects of snoring, doubling the importance of treatment.

A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic in 1999 found that bed partners of people who snore woke up, at least partially, 21 times an hour on average. That’s almost as often as snorers themselves, who woke up 27 times per hour. This quantifiable damage to snorees (bed partners) should be a wake-up call. The effect on their bodies of losing even one hour of sleep a night due to snoring is significant.

When a snorer enters the deeper levels of sleep, such as REM or Delta, muscles relax, including the muscles in the airway which are located in the back of the throat. These relaxed muscles collapse and a vibration is created as air moves between the soft palette and the back of the throat. The loud sound created from this vibration (snoring) abruptly awakens the snoree. This means deeper levels of sleep for the snoree are also jeopardized. In addition, it can be harder for the snoree to return to sleep because the snorer only experiences subconscious awakenings (partial awakenings) and has little recollection of waking up throughout the night. 

Consequently, snorees are not getting the quality of sleep required to maintain their health and energy throughout the day. In a relationship, both parties are extremely fatigued, and this places undue stress on the relationship. Second hand snoring may cause partners to make poor eating decisions, causes loss in intimacy, and creates resentment. In some relationships couples are forced to sleep in separate bedrooms, thereby contributing additional tension to relationships.

Some snorees turn to ear plugs to help reduce the noise. However, many people underestimate the high volume potential of snoring. Snorers can reach a volume of between 60-90 decibels. The most effective ear plug can only eliminate 33 decibels of noise. This means that while ear plugs can help, there are still a lot of remaining decibels in that equation.

Treating snoring is critical – for the snorer, the snoree, and to save the relationship. One must also keep in mind the importance of understanding the reason behind the snoring…the likelihood of sleep apnea being a key factor. Snoring can be hard on both people and an enormous strain on a relationship but it’s critical to remember that sleep apnea is life-threatening and a silent killer.

The first step in finding some relief is to talk with your partner about his/her snoring. There are several options in seeking treatment. Start by making an appointment with us to discuss the problem. From there, a sleep test is needed to check for sleep apnea – either through an over-night sleep study at a local sleep lab (PSG) or a home sleep test (HST). With those results we can help identify the best treatment solution. Please visit for your free sleep evaluation and call us today so we can help you lead healthier lives and share a more loving relationship!

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