If you live in an apartment or townhouse, you’ll be no stranger to noisy neighbors. Whether it’s loud music or TV, arguments, or a screaming baby, at some point, the people who live around you will disturb your sleep.
The sound of neighbors’ snoring can be drowned out with relaxing music or white noise. Also, changing the position of your bed, wearing earplugs, and soundproofing the adjacent wall can block out noise. Talk to them about using anti-snoring products or seeing a doctor about potential health problems.
You’re expected to deal with reasonable noise from your neighbors, and if it’s only once in a while, it’s easy to handle. What if the upstairs neighbor’s snoring is causing you to lose sleep? The reality is that not everyone is aware that they snore, and there could be a medical explanation for your neighbor’s loud snoring that needs urgent attention.
What Are the Causes of Snoring?
If air can’t flow freely through the nose and throat while asleep, it causes vibrations in the airways. This vibration results in the loud snoring noise that we know all too well.
There are many different types of snoring, and they all have different causes. Some are temporary, while others are indicative of a long-term health problem.
Here are the most common causes of snoring:
Snoring is more common in people who are overweight. The extra fat around the throat can narrow the airway and make it more likely to vibrate as air tries to force its way through.
Interestingly, snoring due to obesity is more common in men because women don’t tend to put on as much weight around the neck and face.
Sleeping in certain positions can make a person more likely to snore. According to the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association, snoring is worse if you’re sleeping on your back.
This is because the tongue tends to drop to the back of the mouth, making it harder to breathe, and as the air tries to push past the tongue, this can cause snoring.
Some people naturally have weaker muscles in their throats.
If this is the case, the muscles have a harder time keeping the airway open during sleep, resulting in less space for the air to get through, causing snoring.
Narrow Nasal Passage
If you have very narrow nasal passages, or they’ve become blocked due to an illness or swelling, this can also cause snoring. That’s because the air has to squeeze through a tiny space, causing vibration in the nose.
Anatomy of The Mouth
Everyone’s mouth is different, and the shape of your mouth can determine whether or not you snore.
If your tongue is unusually large and sits back quite far in your mouth, you’re more likely to snore. Similarly, having a large, low-sitting soft palate or a longer uvula can cause some people to snore.
Alcohol can cause your throat muscles to relax more than they usually would, leading to vibration in the throat, resulting in loud snoring.
When inebriated, you’re less likely to wake up due to a breathing obstruction or being in an uncomfortable sleeping position. Of course, snoring due to alcohol is usually temporary. However, some people drink every night.
Sleep apnea is a severe medical disorder that causes your breathing to stop and start during the night.
In most cases, it’s caused by a persistent obstruction to the airway. Sometimes, it’s a result of your brain not sending the right signals to your breathing muscles.
If a person has sleep apnea, they’re far more likely to snore than someone who breathes freely all night long.
How to Block Out the Sound of a Snoring Neighbor
So, now that you know what could be causing your neighbor to snore, what can you do about it?
Well, let’s explore the best way to block out snoring. If you can find a way to avoid hearing the snoring, you may not need to have an awkward conversation about the situation with your neighbor.
1/ Earplugs for Snoring
Earplugs are probably the most straightforward and effective way to block out your neighbor’s snoring.
Here are the different types of earplugs:
Most foam plugs are disposable, meaning that you’re only supposed to use them once, as they lose their effectiveness.
They don’t block out noise all that well, and they can also be uncomfortable due to the poor quality material.
Wax plugs are usually disposable, but many people find them more effective than foam plugs.
They come in the form of a small ball of wax, and when warmed up, the wax forms to the exact shape of your ear cavity, creating a tight seal.
These are made of higher quality materials, such as silicone, which retain their effectiveness for longer.
Although they tend to be more expensive, you can quickly recover your money back because you don’t have to keep buying disposable earplugs.
Custom earplugs are hands-down the most effective at drowning out the noise.
You don’t have to visit a specialist to have these made, as you can buy kits online to make them yourself. Like wax earplugs, they fit precisely inside your ear, but they’re of a higher quality and can be reusable.
Some people dislike using earplugs because they cause discomfort or they block out the sound of your alarm in the morning, meaning that you oversleep.
2/ White Noise
White noise is created by playing many frequencies of sound simultaneously.
The unique quality of white noise means that it can blend together background noises so that you don’t hear them. Even if your neighbor’s snoring is extremely loud or low-pitched, a white noise machine will drown out snoring.
White noise works well because it’s a constant, unchanging sound. Since it uses all frequencies, practically no disturbing noise in your environment can penetrate it. Because the white noise is steady, your brain quickly gets used to it, meaning you’re able to fall asleep. You also have a far lower chance of waking up during the night.
Although you might have heard of white-noise-producing apps for your smartphone, they’re usually ineffective. That’s because the quality of your phone’s speaker isn’t good enough to produce proper white noise, using all frequencies of sound. The sound produced by your phone probably won’t be able to drown out your neighbor’s snoring.
White noise machines have high-quality speakers that can deliver exceptional sound. The white noise produced is of the highest quality and can drown out annoying sounds like snoring.
3/ Listen to Music
Scientific studies have shown that music can make it easier for you to fall asleep. Music with a slow, steady tempo can slow your heart rate in response to it.
Music can help you relax by taking your mind off things that are troubling you. Slow tempo music can cause the release of norepinephrine, a hormone that calms our bodies and helps us sleep.
If music helps you to drop off to sleep, it might be all you need to take your mind off a neighbor’s snoring. Of course, music has the bonus of drowning out the snoring.
There are various ways to listen to music at night:
Wearing headphones is recommended if you want to drown out your neighbor’s snoring completely. As they deliver music directly to your ears, the snoring doesn’t have a chance of getting through.
Unfortunately, headphones can be quite bulky and uncomfortable, and they can fall off during sleep.
They are specifically designed for wearing at night. They tend to be softer, more comfortable, and less likely to fall off when moving around in your sleep.
Sleep headphones take the form of a fleece band that wraps around the head, with earbuds built into the material.
These smart pillows are just as comfortable and soft as regular pillows, but they have a speaker built into them.
Since you don’t have to put anything in your ear or fix anything to your head, music pillows can be far more comfortable than using headphones. However, they might not be as good at blocking out external noise.
Of course, no matter which way you choose to listen to music at night, you need to choose the right songs. A dramatic song with a fast tempo will probably make it even harder for you to sleep.
The best type of music for sleeping is soft, slow tempo music, and ideally instrumental. Music with words tends to keep the language processing part of the brain active.
4/ Bed Position Change
The reason your neighbor’s snoring is sound so loud could be that your bed shares a wall with their bed. If you suspect this is the case, try moving your bed to a different location.
Sometimes, moving your bed to the other side of the room is enough if your bed shares a wall with your neighbor’s. If the snoring is still too loud, and you have a spare room in your apartment, switch rooms to see if it’s any better.
5/ Bedroom Soundproofing
Soundproofing can make a difference to noise levels if you’ve got a noisy neighbor. You won’t need to get the entire place soundproofed, just the wall you share with your neighbor or the ceiling if they live directly above you.
Soundproofing is usually quite expensive and carried out by professionals. However, if you’re a dab hand at DIY, you can give it a go yourself. Soundproofing foam and other materials are available, and you can find installation guides. You can get soundproofing wallpaper and wall stickers which are easier.
If you rent your apartment, talk to your landlord about your situation. If you explain the effect your neighbor’s snoring has on your life, your landlord may be prepared to partially or fully meet the cost.
6/ Talk To Your Neighbor
Depending on the kind of relationship you have with your neighbor, they probably won’t get upset or angry with you, especially if you break it to them gently. Don’t show any anger or hostility.
The chances are that they don’t know that you can hear their snoring through the wall. Some people are completely unaware that they snore, especially if they live alone and nobody has ever told them.
If going round to talk with them sounds scary to you, you could even write a letter to a snoring neighbor.
There are many different products available to buy that are designed to reduce snoring. Of course, which product(s) will work largely depends on the cause of your neighbor’s snoring.
Here are some products that you can recommend:
- Nasal strips: Intended for people who snore because their nasal passages are congested, or collapse during the night. They work by sticking to the bridge of the nose and lifting the sides of the nose so that the nasal passages open wider.
- Anti-snoring mouthpieces: These work best for people who snore due to an obstruction in the mouth. You can get mouthpieces that hold the tongue away from the back of the throat or adjust the position of the jaw for better airflow.
- Chin straps: These work well for people who snore because they breathe through their mouth at night. They hold the mouth closed to promote nasal breathing, eliminating the chance of snoring.
- Anti-snoring sprays: They’re easy to use as you spray them into your mouth or nose. Most of them work by contracting the tissue inside your nose and mouth, creating a bigger space for air to get through. Some also work by keeping the inside of your nose and mouth lubricated, reducing vibration.
- Nasal dilators: These work in a similar way to nasal strips, except you insert them into your nostrils rather than attaching them to the outside. They open up the nasal cavity and widen it so that air can flow freely.
If your noisy neighbor doesn’t like the idea of using anti-snoring products, or they’re not working, it might be time to suggest a visit to the doctor. After all, there could be a serious medical explanation for snoring.
Extremely loud and persistent snoring can be a sign of:
- A medical disorder, such as sleep apnea
- A growth or blockage in the nose or throat
- Deformity in the nasal passages.
The first thing that a doctor will do is ask questions to establish why your neighbor is snoring. A doctor will ask about allergies, medication, eating habits, and whether your neighbor regularly smokes or drinks alcohol.
They’ll also examine the nose and throat for signs of deformities or obstructions. They’ll likely check your neighbor’s BMI to determine if excess weight or obesity is causing the snoring.
If the doctor suspects that your neighbor has sleep apnea, they may recommend using a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. The machine has a mask that you wear at night, delivering pressurized air into the nose and mouth to keep breathing even and steady throughout the night.
Can You Be Evicted For Snoring?
If your neighbor is uncooperative, you may be wondering whether it’s possible to have somebody evicted for snoring. After all, they’re causing a repetitive disturbance each night.
Unfortunately, snoring isn’t a reason why a landlord will evict a tenant because it’s an unintended noise with a possible medical explanation.
If your neighbor were doing something to cause noise deliberately, such as playing loud music or holding parties, this could be a cause for eviction. However, no matter how loud the snoring is, it’s unlikely that they’ll be evicted for it.
This guide contains tips and advice for tackling your neighbor’s snoring problem. Whether you drown out the noise or help your neighbor to stop snoring, you should have a snore-free future ahead of you.