At a Glance:
  • 75% of respondents who share a bed with a snorer say the snoring impacts their sleep and 77% say it affects their well-being in some way.
  • 44% of those who sleep with snorers say their partner’s snoring makes them tired the next day, 33% say they feel cranky or moody, and 28% have no energy.
  • The louder and more often the snoring, the more likely it is to affect the partner’s sleep and well-being, as well as their relationship.
  • Even so, 56% never or rarely sleep in a separate room due to the snoring. Of those, 38% say they don’t because they don’t want to sleep apart.
  • 52% say they are somewhat or very concerned that their partner’s snoring is causing or will cause other health problems.

Jessica and Jeff have been married for 18 years. For Jessica, a 41-year-old accounting professor in St. Louis, Missouri, her husband’s snoring has become “the biggest issue” in their marriage. It affects her and indirectly their two preteen kids. 

“He snored some at the beginning of our relationship, but it got worse when he hit his 30s and even more so in his early 40s,” shares Jessica, who prefers to use only her first name. “I spend a lot of time getting him to roll over on his side. That works for a while, but he rolls onto his back, and it is a vicious cycle of me asking him to roll over all night long.” 

By some estimates, habitual snoring like Jeff’s (snoring more than three nights per week) affects more than half of men and about 40% of women. According to a January 2024 survey of 1000 U.S. adults whose partners snore, 54% say their partner snores every night, with many (30%) snoring at a level 8 or louder (on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being softest and 10 being loudest).    

Snoring can be a sign of a serious condition, such as sleep apnea. But what about the other person in bed, those like Jessica, whose sleep, health and sanity could be at risk because of a snoring partner? And how does it affect their relationship?

Wendy M. Troxel, Ph.D., a senior scientist at RAND Corp. and author of Sharing the Covers: Every Couple’s Guide to Better Sleep, notes that chronic snoring can seriously impact relationships, especially when it is louder and more frequent. The survey bears this out: 19% of partners of habitual, loud snorers feel the strain on their relationship. By comparison, only 9% of those sleeping with light snorers (snoring 3 or fewer times per week) feel their relationship is affected.

“When you share a bed, your sleep is not just your own. It’s interdependent,” Troxel says. “So, your sleep is not only affected by your own individual characteristics but also by your partner’s sleeping behaviors. We know that healthy sleep is vital for healthy relationships because when you’re poorly slept, you become crankier and more irritable, more prone to conflict.”

The Risk of Loving Someone Who Snores

Both the physical and mental health of a person can take a toll when their partner snores. The survey shows it can affect our wellbeing in a myriad of ways: 44% of survey respondents say their partner’s snoring makes them sleepy the next day, 33% report feeling moody or cranky, 28% don’t have energy, and 23% have trouble concentrating.

As a busy working mom, Jessica admits to crankiness when her husband’s snoring means she doesn’t get the rest she needs. This can have a trickle-down effect on her interactions with her family: “When bad sleep happens, I tend to get grumpy and irritated more easily,” she says. “Unfortunately, my kids tend to be the ones who do or say the things that irritate me, so they see that side of me when I have not had a good night’s sleep.”

“If sleeping with a snorer is causing you to get insufficient duration of sleep, poor quality sleep, or broken sleep, that has a host of consequences associated with it.”
Wendy Troxel
Dr. Wendy M. Troxel
Behavioral Scientist, PhD

According to Troxel, women with partners who snore are three times more likely to have insomnia than those who sleep with non-snorers, and mental health problems such as depression or anxiety can arise. Some 17% of respondents say they regularly feel anxious or depressed. 

“We know that sleep affects virtually every aspect of our health and functioning. If sleeping with a snorer is causing you to get insufficient duration of sleep, poor quality sleep, or broken sleep, that has a host of consequences associated with it,” she explains. “Sleep fragmentation can contribute to an increased risk of poor mental health problems, cardiovascular disease, and even cognitive decline.”

Troxel adds that overtired partners may also be blinded by their resentment: “You show less empathy toward your partner when you’re sleep deprived, and you can’t really see the other person’s perspective; your communication skills suffer. Those are just some of the ways research has shown that healthy sleep is so critical for healthy relationships.”

Jessica feels the impact in more ways than one: “I get up early in the morning to get my workout in. However, on nights the snoring is really bad, I skip my workout. I then don’t have the natural energy my workout gives me for the day, and I don’t get my ‘me time’ in the morning. I just go straight into ‘mom mode’ and ‘work mode,’ and my whole day is thrown off.”

Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Virtually everyone snores at some point. It can be caused by factors ranging from a deviated septum or sleep apnea to modifiable factors like weight gain, alcohol use, or sleep position (back sleepers are more apt to snore). Some of these ring true for Jessica’s husband.

“Jeff knows when he hits a certain number on the scale, he will snore,” she says. “Add to that on days he drinks, his snoring is amplified — alcohol makes the snoring even louder and more prominent.”

When getting to the root of the issue, Troxel says it’s essential to rule out sleep apnea before anything else. “As frustrating as it may be to be awakened by your bed partner’s snoring, as a partner, you really want to protect your partner’s health,” Troxel notes. “And if sleep apnea is the cause, that needs to be treated because it can lead to other serious health issues.”

Indeed, 52% of respondents are somewhat or very concerned that their partner’s snoring will lead to other health problems. About one-third of couples have considered consulting a health professional for answers, and 27% have thought about a sleep study. Yet, 41% haven’t considered long-term solutions, which can be problematic.

Casandra Chesser, a 39-year-old mom of six in Annville, Pennsylvania, had to nag her snoring husband to get a sleep study done, and it turns out he does have sleep apnea.

“It wasn’t just mild snoring; it was so loud that you could hear it outside the room with the door closed. There were so many nights when I legitimately worried about how I’d be able to sleep,” says Chesser, owner of parenting resource South Central PA Mom. “He didn’t feel like it was a big problem, but in addition to the loud snoring, I could hear him stop breathing at night for a few seconds.”

Working Together for Healthier Sleep

If you’re dating or married to someone who snores, your relationship most certainly isn’t doomed–addressing the issue together may go a long way toward finding peaceful nights. The survey reveals that most respondents (67%) talk to their snoring partners about the issue at least some of the time. In response, most snorers (52%) apologize, and many research solutions and try to fix the issue. 

But first and foremost, says Troxel, go straight to the source: “Have the snorer speak with their physician to determine any underlying causes and to see if the snoring can be treated or if there are lifestyle changes — such as reducing alcohol consumption or losing weight — that can be done to reduce the snoring,” she says. 

“If it’s a significant issue and the root causes, including sleep apnea, have been ruled out or are being treated, the couple could also try sleeping in separate bedrooms,” Troxel says. “If that means both partners can get better sleep, sleeping apart can probably be the best thing you can do for a relationship.”

Jessica sometimes copes by wearing earplugs to bed, but on nights when her husband’s snoring is unbearable, she might retreat to the couch or their daughter’s room for some much-needed shut-eye.

While that’s a viable option, most of those surveyed (56%) say they never or rarely sleep in a separate bedroom due to snoring. Some 38% say they refuse to do so because they don’t want to sleep apart from their partner. If that’s the case, there are plenty of other potential solutions couples can try to maintain a good relationship and get a good night’s sleep.

For Chesser, the answer was a CPAP machine to treat her husband’s sleep apnea. “Previously, I would just kind of shove him to wake him up and get him to roll onto his side so the snoring would at least temporarily stop,” she says. “But once he adjusted to wearing his CPAP, snoring was no longer an issue for us.”

According to Troxel, Chesser had the right idea by encouraging her husband to roll onto his side. “For many people, snoring is positional and tends to be worse while lying on their back. You might gently nudge your partner to help them roll over or briefly awaken them so they can adjust themselves.” 

Partners of snorers are familiar with these tactics to get better sleep. Over a third of survey respondents urge their partners to roll onto their side, and one-quarter wake them to stop the snoring. For their part, the snorers have tried sleeping propped in bed (26%) and using nasal strips (28%).

Jessica has tried nearly everything but says, “What has worked best is me going to bed before him so I at least get some uninterrupted sleep.” She hopes her husband eventually realizes his snoring’s impact on the family and chooses to fix it.

“Couples really need to find these strategies together. You’re linked, and you’re affecting each other during this critical roughly one-third of our lives.”
Wendy Troxel
Dr. Wendy M. Troxel
Behavioral Scientist, PhD

Over a quarter of those surveyed say they just put up with the snoring or try to ignore it. But loving a snorer doesn’t mean you have to turn a deaf ear — you can work together to resolve it, and you’ll both benefit in the end. 

Troxel says communication is key: “Couples really need to find these strategies together. You’re linked, and you’re affecting each other during this critical roughly one-third of our lives.” 


The survey commissioned by was conducted on the online survey platform Pollfish in January 2024. Results are from 1000 survey participants in the United States who were ages 18 and older at the time of the survey, and had partners who snored at least one night a week. All respondents attested to answering the survey questions truthfully and accurately.

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