Most of us will be woken up by snoring at some point in our lives. Whether it's your partner, dad or someone in the hotel room next door the noise can penetrate your skull like nothing else does at 2.37am. It can range from the whine of a moped at full-throttle to the gruff rumble of a distant pneumatic drill. Snoring causes a significant loss of sleep for many people around the world every night but the problem leads to more than just tiredness. Resentment can build up and the combination of loss of sleep and a relationship problems can lead to anxiety and depression.
ZenPlugs wanted to know just how much sleep people are losing from snoring. They asked 132 people and found some interesting results. We have summarised them in the infographic below. Click to enlarge it.
Amazingly we found that women lose around 11 and a half times more sleep from snoring than men. So why are men so much more likely to snore than women? Here are a few reasons.
- Men have a larger throat space. The male pharynx is larger than in women. This makes it more likely for the soft tissues to vibrate and cause the familiar sound.
- Men drink and smoke more than women. They are statistically more likely to smoke and binge drink than women. Alcohol leads to increased snoring. This is due to sedation causing relaxation of the upper airways and preventing people waking up and moving to a position in which they don't snore. Smoking causes inflammation of the upper airways. This makes snoring more likely.
- Reduced muscle tone. As people get older their muscle tone decreases resulting in floppiness of the throat whilst sleeping. Men are affected more than women.
We discovered that more than a third of women found that snoring was worse after drinking alcohol. A third also found that lying on the back made the problem worse. This is because gravity pulls the soft palate at the back of the tongue into the throat space (pharynx).
A whopping 69% of women dealt with snoring by poking, kicking, or waking the snorer and the average amount of time they were awake for was 40 minutes. Wearing a pair of ear plugs for snoring is an alternative to this. The numbers give a total of a massive 898,443 years of sleep lost every year by women in the UK. This compares with just 78,078 years for men.
Here are some of the raw numbers for those of you who want to know where the results came from.
Average age of women surveyed = 44.21
Age range 15-82, median, 44.
The following information is summarised in the graph on the infographic. 5% of women wake others daily with their snoring, 7% wake people weekly and 5% wake others monthly. 7% wake people yearly. 36% admit to snoring but state it doesn't wake anyone else. Quite how they know this is difficult to know. 41% claim not to snore. This means that 17% of women wake others monthly or more often.
10% are woken daily by other peoples snoring, 21% are woken weekly, another 21% are woken monthly. 11% are woken yearly. 16% are never woken by snoring.
37% of women find that snoring is worse when themselves or others had been drinking alcohol. 33% find lying on their back makes it worse. 10% were divided between putting on weight, allergy and having a cold.
69% of women deal with snoring by poking, kicking, or waking the snorer. Only 5% use ear plugs and 2% white noise machines. 11% go to sleep in another room.
Women in the survey reported that 30% of others affected by their snoring dealt with it by poking, kicking, or waking them. 11% of other people used ear plugs and 2% white noise.
The mean average amount of time that women were kept awake by snoring was 39 minutes (total 1490 minutes/38 women).
32.2 million women live in the UK according to the 2011 census.
10% woken daily = 45,836,700,000 minutes/year.
21% woken woken weekly = 13,713,300,000
21% woken monthly = 3,164,616,000
11% woken yearly = 138,138,000
Total minutes of sleep lost = 472,221,602,616
Total hours = 7,870,360,043.6
Total years = 898,443
31,000,000 men in UK according to 2011 census.
10% woken by snoring daily. 39,149,900,000 minutes per year.
4% woken by snoring weekly. 2,231,008,000 minutes per year.
14% woken by snoring monthly. 1,801,968,000 minutes per year.
8% woken by snoring yearly. 85,808,000 minutes per year.
Total minutes = 41,037,676,000
Total years = 78,077.77
898,443/78077.77 = 11.5
24% have snoring in the house but aren't woken.
8% of men use ear plugs to cope with snoring
2% use white noise.
20% sleep in another room.
43% poke/kick/wake them.
Men are usually awake for the following number of minutes; 761/22 = 34.6.
Total years of sleep lost = 78,078