Everyone’s heard of secondhand smoking, but what about secondhand snoring? Like secondhand smoking, it’s a common problem that can have a substantial impact on health.  Secondhand snoring is a term for the effects that a person’s severe snoring has on their bed partner. 

What Are the Effects of Secondhand Snoring? 

Though this may not seem to be more than a minor annoyance at first glance, the fact is that it can be a big problem. The snorer’s bed partner loses approximately an hour of sleep a night and wakes up, on average, 21 times an hour, according to a 1999 Mayo Clinic study. (The snorers themselves wake up an average of 27 times an hour.)  

Since an adequate amount of good quality sleep is imperative for good health, the loss and disturbance of sleep can have long-term consequences for the bed partner’s health. Poor sleep is associated with many conditions, including:  

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure 
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity 
  • Poor memory
  • Impaired cognition
  • Depression

and many more. Clearly, secondhand snoring is not an irritation to tolerate, but a problem to solve. 

Addressing Secondhand Snoring 

Many people suffering from secondhand snoring simply put up with it, or get used to poking, prodding, elbowing, or rolling the snorer over until the snoring stops. Others may go sleep in another room just to get some peace and quiet. 

But the best way to deal with secondhand snoring is to help the snorer stop snoring. Snoring can be caused by many things including allergies, sinus infections, and alcohol consumption, but snoring that is so severe it regularly wakes a bed partner is more likely to be the result of sleep apnea. 

There are a number of treatments for sleep apnea, including the use of a CPAP machine. In some cases, when the sleep apnea is the result of issues in the mouth, it can be treated through the use of an oral appliance or other orthodontic treatment. We offer this kind of sleep-focused treatment at one of our practices, TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Chicago.

Taking the First Step Towards Restful Sleep 

If you’re suffering from secondhand snoring, talk to your bed partner about how their snoring is affecting you and about your concerns regarding the long-term health consequences their snoring is having on both of you. Encourage them to talk to their doctor and inquire about a sleep study, which is how to get a diagnosis of sleep apnea. They won’t just be taking steps to improve your quality of sleep and your health, but theirs, too.