Bad Sleep: How To Cope With Your Partner's Snoring (It Doesn't Involve Smothering Them With A Pillow)

03/09/2013 12:30 | Updated 04 September 2013

Misery definitely loves company when you're having to contend with your partner's sleep issues.


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According to a new survey by Silentnight, a lot of us of us are being kept awake by their nocturnal shenanigans, with more than half (55%) of us have been woken by our partner sleep talking, more than a quarter (26%) from laughing and one in ten from sleep walking.

And, with over 51% of us admitting to snoring, that's bound to be in the mix too.

sleep snoring

What might seem amusing at first definitely loses its charm when you're having poor sleep as a result of it. But, short of kicking them out of bed, what's the solution? A good place to start is figuring out what might be causing the sleep issues.

HuffPost UK Lifestyle spoke to Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, Silentnight’s sleep expert and a sleep therapist at Capio Nightingale Hospital, who said: "Sorting out a person's sleep problems is like detective work. It could be alcohol, dehydration, caffeine, or they may be overweight. If person is talking in their sleep, that could be someone who needs to access their creative outlets. A lot of it is about expression."

If your sleep is being disrupted regularly though, you may want to spring for a bigger bed. "I've seen big people sleeping in tiny beds," says Dr Nerina, "but by going up a size you're giving each other room to move around. Partners who tend to be most affected by snoring and other noises are usually sensitive sleepers. They typically need to sleep on same of the bed, maybe have a favourite blanket."

So, is sleeping in separate bedrooms the solution? "It doesn't have to be a permanent solution," she adds, "but it might help in the interim. Most people I work with or deal with are relieved when I suggest that. The thing you need to realise is that sleeping separately doesn't mean there is something wrong with your relationship."

It makes good relationship sense because couples are more likely to argue or bicker when one person has slept badly.

The survey also revealed that in addition to being woken up by our partners, money worries (26%), stress (25%) and noisy neighbours (25%) have all disturbed our beauty sleep.

sleep problems


Dr Nerina advises:

  • If you wake up in the night, a quick fix is not to check the time. It will make a massive difference
  • Keep bedroom technology free so that you don't check emails
  • Have a 60 – 90 minute ban on laptops, phones and computers before bed. Even a Kindle can inhibit melatonin levels, which affects your sleep.
  • Eat breakfast first thing in morning. People have better sleep – they tend to have more melatonin, and there is less reliance on your adrenals to give you energy.
  • If you can’t get to sleep, close your eyes, breathe deeply through belly and go through positive things that have happened. It's like counting sheep.

  • Don't: Pop the Wrong Pills
    A stuffy nose keeps sleep at bay, but so does pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in many OTC decongestants (it's been known to cause insomnia).

    Do: Breathe easy with a decongestant formulated specifically for nighttime use. These usually contain antihistamines, which have been known to make people drowsy.
  • 2. Don't: Finish The Emails Languishing In Your Drafts Folder
    Researchers have found that before-bed exposure to the blue light from computers, tablets and smart phones suppresses melatonin levels, which can throw off your body clock as well as increase your risk of obesity.

    Do: Log off at least one hour before bed, and set your alarm an hour earlier in the morning to catch up on work.
  • 3. Don't: Take A Hot Bath
    It's true that a warm soak can help you fall asleep, but not if you're climbing out of the water immediately before climbing into bed. Here's why: Your body temperature dips at night, starting at around two hours before sleep. A hot bath causes your temperature to rise and then cool down afterward, which will help you relax. It's this drop in body temperature that knocks you out, and the steeper the drop, the deeper you'll sleep.

    Do: Timing is key. Bathe too close to bed and your temperature will stay elevated, keeping you on high alert. Make sure you're toweling off at least an hour before turning in.
  • 4. Don't: Overeat
    Research has found that going to bed with an uncomfortably full stomach can stimulate brain waves, which can result in nightmares -- and the more unhealthy the food, the more disturbing the dreams.

    Do: Follow the classic dieter's advice to chew small bites least 15 times before swallowing.
  • 5. Don't: Decide To Get Something Off Your Chest
    Hold off until tomorrow to have it out with your sister about that annoying comment she made. Instead of feeling cathartic, it's probably going to rile you up, and your churning mind will continue to keep you awake into the wee hours. Stress and overstimulation before bed are said to be the main causes of delayed sleeplessness, or "parasomnia."

    Do: Declare the hour before bed to be your peaceful period, and avoid conversations that will rattle you.
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