One complaint snorers often have is that they keep getting awakened by a spouse or other cosleeper for snoring that they can’t believe they’re doing. After all, if they were snoring loud enough to wake anyone up, it should be them that is awakened, not the person who has the benefit of being a few feet away.
Actually, the truth is that your snoring does wake you up, you just don’t know it.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Snoring volumes can be quite loud, much louder than people realize. Some snorers have recorded volumes in excess of 110 decibels. For comparison, ear protection is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) if a person is exposed to a sound of 90 decibels or more for 8 hours, which means snoring is loud enough to cause permanent ear damage.
This sound is produced in the snorer’s head, so they’re experiencing it even louder than those around them. If anyone is to be awakened by snoring, why not the snorer?
How and When You Hear Your Snoring
Some research suggests that snorers are actually awakened more often by their snoring than their spouse or cosleeper. But, as in sleep apnea, you are in the middle of sleep–often deep sleep–and you may not come to full consciousness even though you wake up a little. Your brain may either not become fully aware of the sound, or you may not remember waking up. Whether you are aware of it at night or not, snoring affects your quality of sleep, too, and snoring treatment can help you sleep better, too.
You may be more likely to snore loudest when you are in your deepest sleep, which makes it harder for you to awaken and be aware of your surroundings. Others, though, may be in lighter stages of sleep and therefore are more likely to be awakened and have difficulty falling back asleep.
Some snorers also report being aware of snoring in dreams. They may hear it as a buzzing sound, car engine, or other noise that seems natural in the dream world. Next time you’re dreaming, try to pay attention and see if you can notice it.