Ask Real Simple: What Can I Do About My Partner’s Snoring?

Real Simple answers your questions.

By Andra Chantim and Julia Edelstein
Doll HouseLevi Brown

Q. Why does a snorer wake everyone in the house but himself?
Mykaren Tran
Arcadia, California

A. Because he’s grown used to the snoring, but his family hasn’t. Experts believe that snoring doesn’t develop overnight, like a sore throat or a blemish. “It evolves gradually, growing louder as the soft tissue in the throat becomes floppier over time,” says Raj Kakar, M.D., the medical director of the Dallas Center for Sleep Disorders, in Plano, Texas. “By the time a snore is booming enough to disrupt a bed partner—or even a child snoozing down the hall—the snorer has probably become accustomed to the noise.” His cacophonous honk is no more disturbing to him than are the crickets outside the window. In fact, he can hardly hear it. “The most persistent snoring usually occurs during the deepest sleep, when we are least likely to wake from sound,” says Nancy Collop, M.D., the president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, in Darien, Illinois. The reason: As you fall deeper into sleep, the tissue in the upper airway (the back of the throat) becomes progressively more relaxed, sometimes making it difficult for air to pass through. If you’re in stage-one sleep, which is a light doze, and the person on the next pillow cranks up a stage-four wheeze, there’s a good chance you’ll be roused.

Collop recommends “elbow therapy,” also known as nudging the snorer onto his side, where he’ll be able to breathe more easily. The jab might startle him, too, causing his throat muscles to tighten and the buzz-sawing to cease. (See more ways to stop snoring.)


More Q&As


Ask a Question
What should I do if my foot falls asleep? What’s the difference between hard and soft water? Submit your queries to askrealsimple@realsimple.com.

Your submission to RealSimple.com, including contact information, gives us the right to modify, use, distribute, reproduce, publish and display the submission indefinitely in all media, means, and forms without any payment to you. You hereby represent that you haven't copied the content from a book, magazine, newspaper, or other commercial source. Your submission to RealSimple.com, and your use of the website are subject to Real Simple's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

(For questions about your subscription, please visit the Customer Service Help Desk.)

Read More About:Sleep

Related Content

Wee-Go 9 Ounce Glass Bottle with Silicone Sleeve

How Dangerous Is Plastic?

What you need to know about the new health scare.

What do you think about this article? Share your own solutions and ideas

View Earlier Comments
Advertisement

Quick Tip

Nuts

Juice may serve up vitamins, but it won’t do much to ease hunger: Unlike solid foods, liquids don’t trip the brain’s satiety mechanism. For a more effective snack, pair a glass of 100 percent juice with a few nuts. Get more tips.