YouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor

Does your partner snore? Do you?

Over half of British adults who regularly share a bed with the same person say that their partner snores, while just two in five people themselves admit to snoring.

The disparity between the figures (around 10%) suggests that there could be a significant amount of people who wrongly believe that they do not snore, while their partner may be more aware of their snoring than they had thought.

  • 42% of British people who say there is someone they regularly share a bed with say that they snore (compared to 48% who say that they do not)
  • However, 52% say that the person they share a bed with snores
  • This could be explained by the 10% of people who say they don’t know if they snore
  • What is certain though, is that most bed sharers have an opinion on their partner’s snoring habits, with just 2% of people saying that they don’t know if their bed-sharer snores
  • Women admit to snoring much less than men, with 32% saying that they snore compared to 53% of men
  • Similarly, more women than men say that their bedfellow snores, with 61% saying that they do
  • Compared to 42% of men who say that the person they share a bed with snores
  • Strangely, Scottish residents are more likely to admit to snoring than people across the rest of Britain, with 48% saying that they snore compared to a low of 36% in London
  • Older people would appear to snore more than their younger counterparts, with 51% of those over 60 saying that they snore (compared to 26% of those aged 18-24)
  • And 59% of over 60s saying that the person they share a bed with snores (compared to 41% of 18-24s)

‘A quiet night’s sleep’

It is thought that around one billion people worldwide snore, as a result of a nasal or airway blockage during sleep – for example, a lack of muscle tone in the throat which causes vibration in the mouth, nose or throat during breathing. Being overweight, having small nostrils or even a large soft palate can all contribute to snoring.

However, while this might make uncomfortable sleeping for anyone in the same bed, almost all people who snore are by definition deep sleepers, and as a consequence are often unaware that they have the habit.

As our poll results suggest, snoring is more common among men than women, and some medical estimates suggest by their early thirties, 20% of men snore compared to only 5% of women. Women do not present with the complaint as frequently as men, although it can be a problem for both genders.

Due to the different size and structure of women and men’s necks, throats and noses, it is reportedly more likely that men will snore through their mouths, while women will snore through their noses.

While for most it is simply a slight irritation, some habitual snorers can cause serious disruptions to their own sleep and that of their bed-partner. The British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association website highlights the problems that can come with serious snoring (as well as suggesting cures for the problem) and explains how related condition sleep apnoea can disrupt sleep considerably, causing headaches, tiredness and irritability during the day.

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