In college, you expect a few all-nighters. Nights that feel like they go on forever and, simultaneously, never long enough. Papers need to be written; bibliography’s need to be airtight; huge science projects require crucial components that you unfortunately forgot and now must scramble to put together to get a passing grade. Fortunately, due to flexible schedules, these all-nighters can usually be tempered by the fact that after classes, you can return to your dorm and surrender to some much needed sleep… unless your roommate snores.
Alas, your roommate is a good person. Your roommate maintains proper hygiene, occasionally runs errands for you, buys snacks and supplies for the dorm, and has even lent a shoulder when you needed advice on how to proceed with a difficult situation. Your roommate is perfect – which is more than many others can say. The one problem is the snoring.
So how do you deal with this? How do you handle a snoring roommate?
Let’s start by breaking down the two possible scenarios. In the scenario above, there’s the stellar roommate, in which case, the following tips should help solve your problem. However, the other scenario is that your roommate hasn’t been all that easy to live with and maybe this a lack of sleep is simply adding fuel to the fire. The world is full of unique individuals, and in that case, neither of you should feel guilty over requesting roommate changes. College should be a good experience and both of your experiences will suffer if you’re not a good match.
However, if your roommate is good in most respects – it’s just the snoring that’s the issue – then try some of the following tips for how to handle their snoring.
Don’t “Deal With It”
No matter what you do, do not simply “deal with it.” If your roommate is a good person, then you may be susceptible to follow the path of least resistance. All this is does is build up resentment towards your roommate and deprive you of further sleep. You need sleep, it’s non-negotiable, and that’s all the reason why you need to bring it up to your roommate early on.
To be sure, sleep is essential to your college career; in fact, sleep is essential to your life. A lack of sleep has been proven to cause the same side-effects as being drunk. Numerous studies have verified that the brain activity in someone who hasn’t slept in 24 hours is the equivalent of a person with a BAC level of 0.1. As a refresher, 0.08 is legally drunk. It’s not surprising then that the side effects include an increase in poor judgement, difficulty focusing, loss of hand-eye coordination, memory problems, and some long term effects.
In short, if you want to achieve a college degree, you need sleep.
Communicate the Issue & Understand it Together
As soon as you recognize your roommate is snoring and you’re having trouble sleeping, you need to communicate it to your roommate. It can be tempting to reach out to your friends and talk about the situation, but there’s nothing worse than your roommate finding out they snore from someone other than their roommate. It’s embarrassing and moreover, it’s outside of their control.
This is the foremost reason to bring it up to your roommate as soon as you’re aware of it because odds are, they’re not. Snoring isn’t a voluntary action. Again, it’s not as if your roommate is maintaining poor hygiene or not doing dishes. Your roommate is unconscious, so chances are, they’re unaware of it. So bring it up.
When you mention it, don’t be accusatory, simply say, “Did you know you snore in your sleep?” or something to the effect of, “Has anyone ever told you, you snore?”
Typically, there’s only one of two possible responses. Either A) Yes, it runs in my family or B) No. If it’s the former, then ask what their family members did to either manage the snoring or get restful sleep. If their answer is the latter, then find out together what you can do. The key being “together”. In today’s modern age, it can be all too easy to browse the internet for causes and solutions. When your roommate responds with “No, I didn’t know I snore” and you bounce back with a list of reasons why they’re snoring and how you can stop it, it doesn’t come across as a though you’re trying to solve a problem together, but more like you’re hosting an intervention.
Avoid making the conversation feel premeditated, you should be in this together since they’re just as oblivious as you. You don’t need to have a solution right away either, you can go off to class, work, or chapel and revisit it later.
Be Part of the Solution
While your roommate may be the one who’s snoring, that doesn’t mean you can’t change something about your habits to make your home more livable. For instance, if you only have difficulty falling asleep when there’s snoring, then depending on your roommate’s schedule, it may just mean going to bed before they do.
Otherwise, for many people, white noise drowns outside sounds. See if your roommate has a problem with you playing “rain” sounds or “Enya” or something that’s soothing. Another easy fix would be earplugs. Of course, the challenge there is hearing your alarm to wake up in time for classes, work, or even the gym. However, if there are no other alternatives, then coordinate with your roommate and let them know that if you don’t get up you’re your alarm, they should wake you – it puts some responsibility on their shoulders, but it’s a worthwhile compromise.
Remember that Snoring may be a Bigger Issue
Snoring can be caused by alcohol consumption or common colds (i.e. nasal congestion), and while those would be easy fixes on your roommate’s behalf, that’s not always the case. Another thing to consider is that your roommate’s snoring may be part of a bigger issue.
Snoring has been tied to sleep apnea, hypothyroidism, a deviated septum, or even obesity. In these cases, your roommate may not be able to easily (or quickly) fix the issue. In fact, in some circumstances, this may be impossible to remedy on their end.
All that said, this is all the more reason why you shouldn’t do extensive research ahead of time. You’re not their doctor, so telling them their snoring may be part of a larger condition would disrespectful.
In the end, the solution may simply be to change roommates. This shouldn’t be your initial choice, but it is a valid one if you’ve tried the other options. Sleep is important for your health, but there is no one to blame in this type of scenario. Remember this and there will be no hard feelings if you choose to change roommates.