If you’ve ever been wide awake in bed as your snoring partner blissfully honks and wheezes beside you, please know you have my deepest sympathies. It sucks and is so irritating in the moment—especially when it wakes you up or prevents you from falling back asleep, so all you can do is watch the clock and think about the hours of snoozin’ you’re losing and how tired you’re going to be at work tomorrow.
And science is here to prove that your complaints are justified. A bunch of new articles that were recently published confirm just how long-lasting the damage can be from sleeping next to a loud snorer. According to a New York Post article originally published by The Sun, reports from the British Snoring & Sleep Apnea Association suggest up to 20 million British people are deprived from sleep thanks to their snoring partners. And the app Sleep Cycle claims that 52% of American women have been woken up from a snoring partner. No shocker there.
But what’s more, the Post article mentions a study done at Queens University Canada where four partners of heavy snorers ALL had signs of hearing loss, with the ear closest to the snorer being affected worse. The Queens University study is from 2003, but TBH, still jarring.
The article also mentions a study done in 2015 by the Imperial College of Science in London, which analyzed the relation between loud noises (in those who lived close to noisy roads) and life expectancy. The study found that long exposure to noise led to a small increased risk of heart disease and stroke in elderly patients. An even older study from 2008 showed that your blood pressure could be raised just as much from sleeping next to a snorer as it would be from hearing a low-flying aircraft. When you consider that high blood pressure is a known risk factor for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, dementia, and basically your entire body, that is...not good. In effect, what all these studies are suggesting is that snoring is impactful enough to a partner to be able to rob them of years of living.
Of course, this doesn’t even mention the emotional impact that sleeping next to a snorer can have. No matter how much you love your partner, it’s hard not to feel slightly resentful as you lie awake next to them, knowing full well that they can’t help it.
Stress, of course, is super shitty for your body. Just look at this recent study done on dogs who got yelled at in obedience school vs. dogs who only received reward-based training and how shitty the first group’s health was in comparison.
Snorers themselves don’t get off scot-free just because they don’t have to hear the damage they’re causing. Heavy snoring can also sometimes be a sign of sleep apnea—a dangerous condition in which your breathing stops while you sleep. It’s more common in men than women and even more so in obese men.
Sleep apnea is often noticed more by the partner of the person affected than the actual person themselves, says Jonathan Jun, MD at Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep, on its Hopkins Medicine site. “Your bed partner might notice that your breathing pauses, or they may complain of your loud snoring.”
So, if you have a partner who snores heavily, maybe float the idea of going to the doctor and ruling sleep apnea out as a possible issue. You might save your partner’s health, and if the doc can help alleviate or lessen their snoring, that’s even better for you too.