How to Sleep when Someone Is Snoring

Three Methods:Changing the SoundUsing Medical InterventionFinding Alternative Solutions

What do you do if you find yourself sharing a bed (or a room) with someone who snores? A study showed that partners of millions of snorers are kept awake for two hours each night, which equates to two years' lost sleep over the course of an average marriage![1] If you have to deal with someone's snoring every night, encourage them to take steps to stop.

Method 1
Changing the Sound

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    Find a source of white noise. White noise is a type of neutral sound which covers all wavelengths. This can dim our perception of sounds like snoring, making it easier to sleep with the noise. White noise or nature sounds, which work similarly, can be downloaded or streamed on the internet. There are also non-computer-based white noise machines available that can be programmed with different sounds.
    • Sometimes a consistent tone (rain, wind blowing, static) are better than tones that vary in pitch/volume(breaking waves, storms).
    • One good free noise generator is [1].
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    Use a fan to create white noise. If there is a fan around, put it next to the bed and turn it on. Many people find that the noise made by a fan is effective in drowning out snoring.
    • If you don't have a fan, turning on a computer monitor can have the same effect.
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    Listen to music with headphones. You can also use gentle, calming music to help drown out the sound. This is a better option for some people, especially big music fans. Music is especially helpful as it can train your brain not to pay attention to random noises, like something getting knocked over or your partner coughing in the night.
    • If you're used to falling asleep to silence, this will be difficult at first, but if you listen to certain music only when it's time to sleep, your body will eventually adapt to the noise and even associate that music with sleepiness.
    • Alternatively, you can get some inexpensive sleeping applications for iPhones or iPod touches, which are guided sleeping instructions, peaceful sounds or binaural beats.
    • The headphones and earbuds can also double as earplugs, without music.
    • Soft headphones designed for sleeping, which look like a headband, are available and relatively inexpensive. This can be a good long term solution for you.
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    Muffle the sound with earplugs. Earplugs are a classic but effective option. Custom shaped earplugs can be more comfortable than store bought and many audiologists provide this service. If it's late and you're tight on options, there are also ways that you can make temporary earplugs yourself.
    • If it's too late to buy a pair at the store, you can make temporary earplugs, but make sure that they're big enough to not get stuck inside your ear canal, and leave a tail so you can pull them out easily.
    • Use a dense material that won't shred when you tug on it. Cotton is a bad idea because it can tear easily, and it doesn't muffle much noise anyway. Foam is better. A small, tightly rolled piece of fabric will also work.

Method 2
Using Medical Intervention

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    Use a sleeping aide. There are many over-the-counter medications that you can take to knock you out when the time comes to battle your companion's snoring. There are even prescription medications, if your situation is that desperate. Talk to your doctor about which over-the-counter and prescription medicines are best for your situation and body.
    • There are also natural options which help you sleep better in general but are generally not powerful enough to combat this kind of loud noise.
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    Use a nonprescription antihistamine to help you sleep. Do this only as a last resort, as your body quickly develops a tolerance. Read the labels. The main ingredient you're looking for is diphenhydramine. Pain relievers or cold and flu products marketed as nighttime formulas often include analgesics (acetaminophen, ibuprofen), decongestants (like pseudoephedrine), cough suppressants (like dextromethorphan), and sometimes alcohol. Stay away from those unneeded ingredients if you can.[2]
    • Alternately, it may help for your partner to take allergy medicine, if nasal congestion is causing the snoring. Possibly visit an ear,nose and throat specialist and an allergist to determine if your sinuses, nose, throat, tonsils are the root cause of the the snoring.
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    Get the snoring evaluated by a professional. Any partner who is disrupting the sleep of another should consider seeking some type of sleep therapy solution. Ask your partner to seek sleep therapy or sleep evaluation. A sleep study (pulmonologists usually prescribe this) can determine the extent of the snoring problem.
    • Sometimes, the snoring is caused by medical problems, such as obstructed airway or sleep apnea.[3] These problems, if left alone, can cause damage to the body over time since the body is deprived of restful sleep and oxygen.

Method 3
Finding Alternative Solutions

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    Roll the person onto his or her side. People tend to snore less in this position. If possible, make it so that they're at the edge of the bed, facing away from you. Most people "know" they're at the edge of the bed when they're sleeping and won't fall off. Put some pillows snugly against their back so that they don't roll back onto their back.
    • Wake up the person and have them blow their nose. Sometimes a stuffy nose will lead to snoring and will prevent you from falling asleep.
    • Some people even tape or sew a tennis ball or something similar to the back of their partner's shirt, so the person is uncomfortable sleeping on their back, and will go back onto their side without you having to wake up and push them.
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    Prop them up. Wake up your partner just enough to slide another pillow under their head. The angle can help them to stop snoring, especially if the snoring is rooted in obesity or nasal congestion.
    • This is an especially effective solution for people that have to sleep on their back and cannot be trained to sleep on their side.
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    Sleep in a separate room. Many partners of snorers find they sleep much better in a separate room. While some worry about a loss of intimacy from sleeping separately, many people find that they are able to be more intimate because they are less tired, and less grumpy from being kept up all night.
    • If you choose to sleep separately set aside special time for your partner in the evening before going to your room or in the morning before beginning your busy day.
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    Try to see the problem in a different light. Try not to see the sound as the annoying noise of someone snoring. Instead, think of it as the sound of someone you love breathing. Changing your attitude, when paired with some of the other sleep solutions, can help you confront this problem and reach a happy medium.
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    Talk to a counselor. Ask your partner to seek marital or couple counseling if they do not take action to remedy the problem. Any long term unresolved problem will create tension in the relationship. Short term solutions may only work for so long, so it's important to deal with this issue as best you can.
    • Keep in mind that serious snoring is bad for your loved-one's health. They should be working to solve the problem if only to take care of their own health and mental well being as well.


  • Get an operation to reduce snoring - done via local anaesthetic.
  • It may help to have a second snorer in the room. The sound can actually neutralize the noise of the first snorer. How do you get a second snorer? Get a dog that snores.
  • You can go on YouTube and search for white noise and there is a channel which plays it for 1-2 hours.


  • Please try to avoid placing anything over the snorer's mouth or head to prevent the sound from keeping you up, as suffocation could occur.
  • Be careful sleeping with earbuds, as the cord can wrap around your neck and choke you.
  • If your roommate's or bedmate's snoring is uncommonly loud and monotonous (not rising and falling in time with their breathing), it could be occurring due to sleep apnea. In that case, they should see a doctor (neurologist) and take a sleep study to have it treated accordingly. They should NOT under any circumstance try to take allergy medicine, since sleep apnea patients can react very strongly to any medication taken before bedtime, which can even cause death.
  • Do not take any allergy medicine to induce sleep without checking with your doctor first. Side effects or drug-interactions can be serious, and the dosage required would be multiple times the safe level.

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