Last Updated on February 10, 2024 by Louise Carter
Living in an apartment or townhouse means you’re no stranger to noisy neighbors. Whether it’s snoring, music, TV, arguments, or babies crying, the people around you will disturb your sleep.
You’re expected to deal with reasonable noise from neighbors, and if it’s only occasionally, it’s relatively easy to cope. What if the upstairs neighbor’s snoring is causing you to lose sleep?
Not everyone knows they snore, and there could be a medical explanation for your neighbor’s loud snoring that needs a solution or medical attention.
Talk to them about using anti-snoring products or consulting a doctor about their health problems.
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.
What Are The Causes of Snoring?
If air can’t flow freely through the nose and throat while we sleep, vibrations in the airways happen. This vibration results in the loud snoring noise we know all too well.
There are many 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 gain 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 sleep on your back.
This is because the tongue tends to drop to the back of the mouth, making it harder to breathe. 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’ve very narrow nasal passages or if they become blocked due to an illness or swelling, this can 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 in your mouth, you’re likelier 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 throat vibrations that cause loud snoring.
You’re less likely to wake up when intoxicated due to a breathing obstruction or uncomfortable sleeping. Of course, snoring due to alcohol is usually temporary, but some people drink every night.
Sleep apnea is a severe medical disorder that causes breathing to stop and start at night.
In most cases, it’s caused by a persistent obstruction to the airway. Sometimes, it results from the 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.
How To Block Out The Sound of A Snoring Neighbor
Now 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 you should only use them once, as they lose effectiveness.
They don’t block out noise well and can be uncomfortable due to the poor-quality material.
Wax plugs are usually disposable, but many find them more effective than foam plugs.
They come in a small ball of wax, and when warmed up, the wax forms the exact shape of your ear cavity, creating a tight seal.
These are made of higher quality materials, like silicone, which retain their effectiveness for longer.
Although they tend to be more expensive, you can quickly recover your money 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 and create them yourself. Like wax earplugs, they fit precisely inside your ear, but they’re of higher quality and can be reusable.
Some people dislike using earplugs because they cause discomfort or block out the sound of your alarm in the morning, meaning 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 background noises so you don’t hear them. Even if a neighbor’s snoring is 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 environmental noise can penetrate it.
Because white noise is steady, your brain quickly gets used to it, meaning you can fall asleep. You also have a far lower chance of waking up during the night.
Although you’ve heard of white noise-producing apps for your smartphone, they’re usually ineffective.
The quality of your phone’s speaker isn’t good enough to produce proper white noise using all sound frequencies. Your phone’s sound won’t be able to drown out a neighbor’s snoring.
White noise machines have good 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 help you 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 troubling you. Slow-tempo music can release norepinephrine, a hormone that calms our bodies and helps us sleep.
If music helps you fall asleep, it might be all you need to distract yourself from a neighbor’s snoring. Of course, music has the bonus of drowning out snoring.
There are various ways to listen to music at night:
Wear headphones if you want to drown out a neighbor’s snoring completely. As they deliver music directly to your ears, the snoring doesn’t have a chance of getting through.
Headphones can be bulky and uncomfortable, falling off during sleep.
They’re 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 are a fleece band that wraps around the head, with earbuds built into the material.
These smart pillows are as comfortable as regular pillows, but they have a speaker built into them.
Music pillows can be more comfortable than headphones since you don’t have to put anything in the ear or fix anything to your head. However, they might not be as good at blocking out external noise.
Of course, no matter how you listen to music at night, you must choose the right songs. A dramatic song with a fast tempo will probably make sleeping even harder.
The best music for sleeping is soft, slow-tempo, and ideally instrumental. Music with words keeps the language processing part of the brain active.
4/ Bed Position Change
Your neighbor’s snoring sounds so loud because your bed shares a wall with theirs. If you suspect this, try moving your bed to a different location.
Moving your bed to the other side of the room is sometimes 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 try it.
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 how your neighbor’s snoring affects your life, your landlord may be prepared to partially or fully meet the cost.
6/ Talk To The Neighbor
Depending on the relationship 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 unaware that they snore, especially if they live alone and nobody has ever told them.
If going around to talk with them sounds scary, you could write a letter to a snoring neighbor.
Many different products reduce snoring. Of course, which product(s) will work largely depends on the cause of the neighbor’s snoring. Here are some products to recommend:
- Nasal strips: These are intended for people who snore because their nasal passages are congested or collapse at night. They work by sticking to the bridge of the nose and lifting the sides 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 jaw’s position for better airflow.
- Chin straps: They work well for snorers because they breathe through their mouths at night. They hold the mouth closed to promote nasal breathing, eliminating the chance of snoring.
- Anti-snoring sprays. 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. Some also work by keeping the inside of your nose and mouth lubricated, reducing vibration.
- Nasal dilators: These work similarly to nasal strips, except they’re inserted into your nostrils rather than attaching them to the outside. They open the nasal cavity and widen it so air can flow freely.
If a noisy neighbor doesn’t like the idea of using anti-snoring products or they’re not working, it may be worth them seeing a doctor. After all, there could be a medical explanation for snoring.
Extremely loud and persistent snoring can be a sign of:
- A medical disorder, like sleep apnea.
- A growth or blockage in the nose or throat.
- Deformity in the nasal passage.
A doctor will ask questions about why your neighbor is snoring. They’ll ask about allergies, medication, eating habits, and whether they regularly smoke or drink alcohol.
They’ll also examine the nose and throat for deformities or obstructions. They’ll likely check the neighbor’s BMI to determine if excess weight is causing snoring.
If the doctor suspects your neighbor has sleep apnea, they may recommend using a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine.
The machine has a mask 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 a neighbor is uncooperative, you may wonder if evicting somebody for snoring is possible. After all, they’re causing a repetitive disturbance each night.
Unfortunately, snoring isn’t sufficient for a landlord to evict a tenant because it’s an unintended noise with a possible medical explanation.
If a neighbor were doing something to cause noise deliberately, like playing loud music or holding parties, this could lead to eviction. No matter how loud the snoring is, it’s unlikely that they’ll be evicted.