Is Snoring Hurting Your Relationship?

A partner’s snoring can be a significant source of conflict in a relationship, besides being a potential health concern for the individual. Read on to find out more on this, and what you can do about it.

By Sahajiya Halder
27 Sep 2021

Is your partner’s snoring driving you up the wall? Maybe it has disrupted your sleep more than once, and that has made you wake your partner up out of frustration. Snoring can definitely be a source of irritation in relationships. Even Tom Cruise had reportedly converted a room in his Hollywood home into a soundproof “snoratorium” to give his then wife, Katie Holmes, a break from his snoring.


Snoring is the rattling sound that occurs when your breathing is obstructed during sleep. It is a common occurrence, and can have many causes—from nasal congestion to age and more. However, it can give rise to many problems when it is severe and happening consistently over a long period of time.


Snoring can not only disrupt your sleep but your partner’s too, leading to a detrimental effect on your emotional and physical well-being. An article published in Nature and Science of Sleep says that disrupted sleep can be detrimental to both healthy individuals and those with underlying health issues—short term consequences such as heightened stress response, depression, anxiety and memory issues can arise, while long term complications involve hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, as well as worsening of gastrointestinal disorders. Moreover, lack of sleep due to a partner’s snoring can bring forth irritation and a greater chance of interpersonal friction. In fact, a study in Social Psychological and Personality Science suggests that conflicts between romantic partners can be more frequent or severe after a night of bad or no sleep, and thus sleep can be a key factor in breeding relationship conflict.


What To Do If Snoring Is Causing Conflict

1. Sleep with your head elevated, as that could help if you are prone to snoring. According to a study published in Sleep, Science and Practice, avoiding positions involving lying on your back or with your face upwards can reduce snoring. Lying on your back causes your soft palate and the base of your tongue to collapse, leading to obstruction in breathing. So sleep at a slight incline or lie on your side to see if it helps.

2. Lifestyle factors can sometimes contribute to snoring. Seek your physician’s advice about whether weight loss might help, as that can be a factor.

3. Exercises involving the throat and mouth can also help by toning the muscles around the airway. A study published in the journal Chest which took place for three months suggests that oropharyngeal exercises can be effective for people suffering from snoring. Examples of such exercises include pronouncing the vowels repeatedly, and touching the tip of your tongue to the area behind your top front teeth and slowly sliding it backwards across the roof of your mouth multiple times.

4. Avoid consumption of alcohol before bed, as alcohol relaxes muscles and can thus exacerbate snoring.

5. A rising trend in the current times has been sleep divorce. A sleep divorce is when couples sleep apart in separate spaces due to reasons such as snoring or other conflicting sleep habits, in order to ensure adequate rest for both parties. Communicate with your partner about sleeping in separate bedrooms.
Related Story: What is a Sleep Divorce and How Can it Help Your Relationship

6. Seek medical help, as it may be the solution in some cases. Consult a doctor if the snoring is severe and very frequent. Snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder that involves a repeated slowing or stopping of breath. A study in Laryngoscope suggests that snoring can be associated with coronary artery disease. So snoring may sometimes be an indication of more serious health concerns.


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