Snoring, a common problem affecting both men and women, is characterized by loud, unpleasant noises made during sleep. If you’re a snorer, you may have wondered why your own snoring doesn’t wake you up, or why your partner’s snoring doesn’t bother them as much as it does you. In this article, we’ll explore why snorers typically don’t wake up from the sound of their own snoring.
So, why can’t you hear your own snoring?
According to Ronald Chervin, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Michigan Health System, it remains unclear why snorers are seemingly unaffected by their own snoring, while their bed partners suffer throughout the night. One possible explanation involves how the brain processes sensory information during sleep. The thalamus, a part of the brain that filters out sensations and low-priority sounds, may play a role. For example, we are more likely to be awakened by someone calling our name than by hearing a random word.
During sleep, the brain monitors various signals to maintain essential functions, such as regulating breathing and heart rate. The body repairs and rebuilds itself during rest, with certain areas of the brain temporarily deactivated. One of these deactivated functions is our ability to hear sounds. The body can distinguish between threatening and non-threatening sounds, allowing us to ignore the latter and get restorative rest. Noises from our bodies, as well as constant or repetitive sounds like a fan or clock, are less likely to rouse us. However, the brain can still detect unusual noises that may pose a threat and wake us up to evaluate them.
Since I can’t hear my snoring, it’s not a problem, right?
That’s incorrect! Just because you can’t hear your own snoring doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem. If your snoring keeps your bed partner awake, it can lead to irritability, reduced concentration, and daytime fatigue. This can cause resentment and even strain your relationship. If you suspect sleep apnea, consult with your doctor for further evaluation.
Treating your snoring is essential for both your overall health and your partner’s well-being. If your snoring isn’t indicative of sleep apnea, you can try various methods to reduce it. Changing your sleep position, such as sleeping on your side instead of your back, can help some people. Losing excess weight, especially around the neck, can alleviate pressure on the airway and reduce snoring. Avoiding alcohol before bed and being mindful of medications with sedative properties can also help. If these tips don’t work, consider using anti-snoring devices, which are affordable, readily available, and minimally invasive.
Most snorers don’t wake up from the sound of their own snoring because the body is designed to tune out low-priority sounds during sleep. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to determine the cause of your snoring and seek appropriate treatment for the sake of both your partner’s peace and your overall health. Addressing your snoring not only improves your sleep quality but can also help strengthen your relationship and contribute to a better quality of life for both you and your partner. Remember, the key to resolving snoring issues is open communication and a proactive approach towards finding a suitable solution.