Man awake in bed while his partner sleeps

How Can I Sleep Better When My Partner Snores? A Q&A with a Sleep Expert

By Nicole Pajer
January 20, 2023

This article is part of a Q&A series in which a healthcare professional in our community answers your frequently asked questions. Here, we talked to Jared Minkel, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and sleep specialist who develops digital therapeutics at Twill. Minkel shares solutions to a common sleep disruption: a snoring partner.

We asked: “How do I get a good night's sleep when my partner snores?”

Jared Minkel, Ph.D.: A common complaint that I hear is that a snoring partner is keeping their bedmate up at night. Sleep can be hard to come by, and trying to drift off to the sound of sawing logs is definitely not conducive to a peaceful night’s rest. If your partner’s snoring is affecting your sleep, here are a few things to try.

1. Ask your partner not to sleep on their back.

If your partner is like a lot of people, they snore more when lying on their back than they do when on their side or their stomach. There are even funny-looking T-shirts that have a tennis ball on the back of them so that if you're on your back, it's not comfortable and you'll roll over. So that may help.

2. Encourage them to get tested for sleep apnea.

A very high percentage of people who snore enough that it’s disruptive have some level of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when a person’s breathing stops and starts repeatedly while they sleep. If a person is diagnosed with sleep apnea, treatment for the condition can end the snoring.

3. Drown out the noise.

Another option is to sleep with a white noise machine. Sometimes those can dampen the noise enough to be able to sleep. A fan can also help to muffle the sounds of snoring. Wearing earplugs can help, too, if you’d prefer that.

4. Try a nasal strip.

Nasal strips open your airway a little bit. If your partner has pretty mild snoring, that could help. It’s worth a shot for sure.

5. Sleep in a separate room.

Something that I always try to normalize is that it is okay to sleep in separate rooms. A lot of people resist it because there's this perception that if you sleep in separate bedrooms, you're going to get divorced, and you’ll never have sex again. But if somebody's snoring so loudly that you can't sleep, that also impacts your sex life. Sleep deprivation and intimacy do not go well together.

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