A snoring partner can be bad for your health. If you are sleeping with a partner who loudly saws logs, the noise may be doing more than just keeping you tossing and turning at night. A new study published in European Heart Journal says that nighttime noises can raise your blood pressure, whether you are asleep or awake.
Snoring raises blood pressure
After monitoring 140 sleeping volunteers at their homes near Heathrow and other major airports, scientists at London’s Imperial College concluded that sounds louder than 35 decibels — including planes flying overhead, traffic passing outside, and yes, snoring — spiked blood pressure at a rate of 0.66 mm Hg for every five-decibel increase. To give you some perspective, 90 decibels (a level some snorers can reach) can be compared to the volume of a jackhammer.
Because high blood pressure (hypertension) can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, strokes and dementia, experts stress that these new findings are not something you want to, well, sleep on. If you happen to share a bed with one of the 25 percent of adults who habitually snore (or, you happen to live by an airport or a heavily trafficked area), take these simple steps to finally get a quiet night’s rest.
- White it out: Drown out extraneous noises with a white-noise machine (check out the SleepMate sound conditioner). By incorporating all sound frequencies from high to very low, the neutral hum of white noise masks or cancels out noxious noises. You also can try placing an air filter or a fan near your bed; the whirring noise of either has similar effects.
- Soothe with song: A study published in the Journal Of Advanced Nursing found that people with sleep problems showed improvement after listening to soft music. Simply compile a playlist of slow songs (anything from soft jazz to classical) and let your iPod soothe you to sleep. Or try recordings of ambient sounds, such as falling rain, thunder, ocean waves or wind chimes, which also are effective sleep aids. Download a variety of sleep-centric mp3 playlists from SoundSleeping.com.
- Plug it up: Before your head hits the pillow, pop in a pair of earplugs. While they may not mute the noise completely, they can cut the volume on snoring, making it sound more like a whisper. Since no two ear canals are alike, you may have to try out a few pairs for comfort and size. Another option is the Snoring Relief Kit from The Ear Plug Superstore, which contains eight different styles and sizes of plugs.
For more information and links to the studies:
- Tips to help your partner stop snoring: American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery Foundation
- Nighttime air traffic noise can increase blood pressure
- Music improves sleep quality in older adults