On certain nights, being a light sleeper can sometimes feel like a descent into madness. Even the tiniest sound jerks you awake, and you can spend hours rolling around in anger and frustration, trying to get back to your dreams. Sounds of the city like passing cars are bad enough, but when the source is a snoring partner, you may add resentment to your list of negative feelings — studies have shown that spouses of snorers with sleep apnea wake up almost as often, the New York Times says. Earplugs, unfortunately, can be uncomfortable to sleep in and may not even completely block out noise, so what is there to do?
A better routine
Working on sleeping better in general could help in sleeping through noise. The National Sleep Foundation recommends sticking to a sleep schedule, even on days off from work, avoiding caffeine, bright lights and heavy meals past a certain hour and exercising every day. You can also add a relaxing routine before bed, such as drinking some herbal tea or doing a calming hobby.
A fan or an air conditioner could get the job done as much as a white noise machine because it’s the consistency of the sound across hearable frequencies that counts. According to Popular Science, “When a noise wakes you up in the night, it's not the noise itself that wakes you up, per se, but the sudden change or inconsistencies in noise that jar you. White noise creates a masking effect, blocking out those sudden changes that frustrate light sleepers, or people trying to fall asleep.”
For apartment dwellers, putting the bed on a wall you don’t share with a neighbor can help reduce sound, as could placing a thick bookcase on that wall, according to the Huffington Post.
And speaking of decor, the Huffington Post also lists acoustic tiles on the walls, thick carpeting and heavy curtains as other things that help seal up the home and block sounds from outside.
Meditation can improve sleep in general, but it can also help a light sleeper overcome noise. Elle says the skill of mindfulness meditation may take some time to hone, but can lead to deeper and more restful sleep. One way to relax is to close your eyes and visualize. “Offering a visual aid makes it easier to train your brain to focus and tune out the noise,” the magazine says. That could be imagining your breath coming out as a color with each exhalation. Aromatherapy can also promote tranquility.
Chill with the attitude
In the case of sharing a bed with a snorer, sometimes all you can do is remember that you love the person who is snoring and stop being annoyed by the sound. “Anyone who has ever tried to get some shut-eye while the person next to them blasted nose trombone is rolling their eyes right now,” Today says, but after some training, snoring could be soothing instead of irritating when likened to the rising and falling sound of ocean waves, and can even have a lulling effect.