Helping a Snoring Roommate or Partner Without Being Rude

December 13, 2019

7 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

Living with a snoring roommate or partner is one of the less ideal aspects of cohabitation. Not only can a snoring roommate keep you up at night, but navigating how to address the issue can be difficult, too.

The fact of the matter is that not only the snorer has to deal with the side effects of snoring. And whether you get along with your roommate or not, there are simple ways you can address their nightly noise.

Why do people snore?

There are many potential causes of snoring. At its root, however, snoring occurs when air isn’t able to travel through your nose and throat freely. A disruption in airflow causes throat and nasal tissues to vibrate. 

Some people may snore only when they are congested from a cold, sinus infection, allergy attack, etc.. Others may snore only when they are sleeping in a certain position (most commonly on their back). Still others may have drawn the short straw when it comes to the anatomical structure of their nose and throat: nasal polyps, a deviated septum, and excess throat and nasal tissue can all increase the likelihood that you will snore at night.

Finally, others may have a condition called sleep apnea, which can cause their breathing to stop and start as they sleep.

The bottom line? Unless your roommate or spouse is a cartoon character trying to annoy or fool you, they aren’t snoring on purpose. As easy as it is to convince yourself in the twilight hours that your roommate is trying to sabotage your beauty sleep, keep in mind that they have no idea that they’re causing such a ruckus.

Further reading:How can a deviated septum cause snoring?

What do I do if my roommate snores?

Snoring is often a problem of the moment. We tend to forget about snoring until we’re up late at night frantically googling, “How to stop a snoring roommate.”

If this is you, don’t panic. There are steps you can take at the moment to try and get a snoring roommate to quiet down, and then there are steps you can take when you wake up in the morning.

How to stop snoring while it’s happening

  • Ask them to roll over: When we lay on our backs, gravity does us the disservice of making it easier for our nasal and sinus tissues to hang down and obstruct the air we are breathing. If your snoring roommate or spouse is sleeping on their back, gently call their name and ask them to roll over. They might not hear you at first, so you may need to ask them a few times.
  • Use earplugs: If you have quality earplugs on-hand, put them in! While earplugs may not be able to drown out your snoring roommate completely, they may reduce the sound of their snoring to a less obtrusive background noise.
  • Avoid looking at your clock: Do your best to avoid checking the time when your roommate or partner’s snoring wakes you up. Doing so will only make you more awake and frustrated.
  • Use your headphones to listen to music: Some people are able to fall asleep to quiet music. If this is you, queue up some calming tracks and try to focus on the music instead of the snoring. Should music be too distracting for you, others have had luck listening to the audio from a movie or comedy special that you’ve seen a thousand times and turning the volume down.   
  • Try to change how you think about the snoring: We have had several patients make peace with their roommate or partner’s snoring by changing how they think about it. Instead of regarding your roommate’s snoring as a nuisance, try to think of it as a type of repetitive a white noise.
  • Download a white noise app/use a white noise machine: Many people we speak to who have a snoring roommate swear by using a white noise machine or a white noise application. Many recommend Simply Noise in particular.
  • Move to a different room: If all else fails, try moving to a different room. If the snoring is a nightly issue, you and your roommate can try to alternate who moves out of the room. If the offending snorer is your spouse, take comfort in the fact that spouses feeling that they must sleep in the same room is a relatively recent phenomenon. There’s a growing movement espousing the joys and health benefits of sleeping in separate beds.

How to address snoring during the day

  • Encourage your roommate or partner to invest in products that will reduce the likelihood that they will snore: These products can include items such as nasal strips, pillows that help keep their head raised at night, or pillows that encourage them to sleep on their side.
  • Have a discussion about your snoring roommate’s health: Does your snoring roommate or spouse smoke? Are they overweight? Do they tend to eat a lot right before bed? All of these characteristics and habits can increase one’s tendency to snore. Depending on how close you are with the snorer in your life, it might be time for you to open up communication about how to address these issues.
  • Have a discussion about drinking before bed: The consumption of alcohol before bed can slacken one’s nasal and sinus tissues when sleeping. Encourage your snoring roommate or spouse to stop boozing a few hours before bed and/or to drink in moderation.
  • Explore surgical treatment options: Snoring can eventually lead to other health complications, and your snoring roommate or partner may be interested in addressing their snoring issues head-on. Encourage them to visit their doctor or local ENT to discuss their options, including balloon sinuplasty for snoring.

When you’re the problem: What do I do if my roommate wakes me up when I snore?

If you’re the snoring roommate in question, chances are you aren’t thrilled by the fact that you’re unintentionally keeping those around awake with your louder-than-average breathing.

It can be confusing and embarrassing to have your roommate to wake you up when you’re sleeping and tell you to roll over. The best thing to do when this happens is to comply with their request as best you can. If you don’t like the way your roommate or partner put their request, or if you have other concerns wait until the morning to discuss them.

Not sure your snoring is causing a problem? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you started falling asleep at work or in class despite trying to maintain healthy sleep hygiene?
  • Have you been experiencing increased headaches or GERD symptoms?
  • Has your doctor told you to be wary of heart disease or stroke?  
  • Is your partner complaining about your snoring?
  • Has your depression or anxiety increased?

Tell your snoring roommate about Kaplan Sinus Relief

Whether you live with a snoring roommate or are the snoring roommate yourself, don’t wait until you’re at your wit’s end to discuss how snoring is affecting your life.

If you and your roommate or spouse are unable to find a way to manage the snoring, speak to a medical professional such as an ENT. As one of Houston’s top ear, nose, and throat doctors, Dr. Michael Kaplan has helped thousands of Space City’s residents get back their peaceful nights

Ready to sleep soundly again? Request an appointmentwith Dr. Kaplan at Kaplan Sinus Relief by filling out our online form or calling us at 713-766-1818 today.

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