NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Second-Hand Snoring

November 24, 2003

People who sleep next to a snorer have more pain, higher levels of fatigue and sleepiness and may even be at higher risk for hearing loss, according to two recent studies. Complaints of snoring and apnea have risen sharply in recent years along with the general increase in obesity, a risk factor for sleep problems. Research shows:

  • People who sleep next to snorers may wake up as often during the night as people with documented sleep disorders.
  • One Mayo Clinic study found that spouses of snorers woke at least partially an average of 21 times an hour, nearly as often as the 27 times the snorers were awakened by their documented sleep problem.
  • Spouses of snorers and people with sleep apnea complain of excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue, which can affect relationships at both work and home.

Researchers at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, found that the bed partners of snorers all showed a significant amount of noise-induced hearing loss. In all four patients, who had slept next to a snorer for 15 to 39 years, the damage was limited to the one ear that was most exposed to the snoring.

Source: Tara Parker-Pope, "Dangers of Second-Hand Snoring: When Bedtime Is a Health Hazard," Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2003

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For Mayo Clinic study


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