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Snoring and Sleep Apnea: Notes for a Partner

Man and woman talking to healthcare provider.

Snoring and sleep apnea affect your life, as well as your partner’s. You can help in the treatment of the problem. Be supportive. Encourage your partner both to get treatment and to make the adjustments needed for the treatment to work.

Adjusting to changes

Your partner’s treatment may involve making changes to certain life habits. You can help your partner make and stick with these changes. For example:

  • Your partner may be asked to lose weight and change eating habits. Consider changing your eating habits and supporting and even joining in your partner’s exercise program.

  • Be supportive if your partner gets CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). They may feel self-conscious at first. Remind your partner to expect adjustments to CPAP before it feels just right. Current CPAP machines are much quieter than the originals, but you may still be bothered by its sound. To manage this consider:

    • Asking your partner to request a longer cord so the machine can be kept in a closet or in another remote area

    • Creating a soundproof box for the machine

    • Going to sleep before your partner

    • Sleeping with earplugs

    • Sleeping in a separate room

  • Consider joining a snoring and sleep apnea support group.

Go along to see the healthcare provider

You can give the healthcare provider the best account of your partner’s nighttime breathing and snoring patterns. Try to go along to healthcare provider’s appointments. If you can’t go, write questions or notes for your partner to share and discuss with the healthcare provider. Describe your partner’s snoring and sleep breathing patterns in detail.

Until treatment takes care of your partner’s snoring:

  • Try to go to bed first. It may help if you’re already asleep when your partner starts to snore.

  • Wear earplugs to bed. A fan or other source of background noise may also help drown out snoring.

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