Snoring Neighbors and Light Sleepers
May 6, 2005 7:13 AM   Subscribe

My fiancee, a light sleeper, is often driven from our bed onto our couch by our neighbor's loud-snoring boyfriend. Short of suffocating said boyfriend, what can we do to ensure that my fiancee and I share a bed every night?

We live in a basement divided into two studio apartments. The apartments' layouts are mirrored, each with an alcove that is just the right size for a bed. Consequently, the wall at the head of our bed is the same wall at the head of our neighbor's bed.

Shortly after we moved in, we had some noise problems with our neighbor. Our apartment had sat vacant for some time, so she was used to playing her music and TV loudly, and staying up late doing so. We spoke to her about it within a few weeks of moving in, and it hasn't been a problem.

At some point in the past month, we're pretty sure she got a new boyfriend, and they share her bed three or four nights a week. And he's a snorer.

My fiancee is not a terribly light sleeper, but every night that our neighbor's boyfriend is over, she is awakened by his snoring. I've heard it a few times, but I tend to sleep through anything, and if it wakes me up I go right back to sleep. My fiancee can't, though, and now frequently winds up sleeping on the couch, out of earshot of the snoring.

She's tried using her ipod to drown it out, reading until she is exhausted, and sleeping with a pillow over her head, but nothing works. Moving the bed, unfortunately, is not an option, given the size of the apartment. She's getting some miserable nights' sleep, and I just get sad that I can't wake up next to her (awwww). Is there something we could attach to the wall to deaden the sound? Any other suggestions? Help me, Ask-Me Kenobi, you're my only hope!
posted by schustafa to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
White noise maker or earplugs.
posted by adampsyche at 7:26 AM on May 6, 2005

Earplugs are wonderful. My brother and Dad are both incredibly loud snorers, so when when I'm forced to bunk with them when we travel or camp, earplugs are my best friend. Seriously, I don't have any friends - I talk to my earplugs.

They might seem a bit uncomftorable at first, but she'll get used to them - and I gladly accepted a small foam peace in my ear in exchange for peaceful sleep.
posted by nitsuj at 7:27 AM on May 6, 2005

I have to second adampsyche and nitsuj--ear plugs are cheap, and once you get used to them they're aren't very uncomfortable. I use a brand called "Quiet Down" (or something like that) and I buy them at Walgreens (but I'm sure any pharmacy would carry them). I always have a pair on hand whenever I sleep in a strange place. The only downside is that I've been known to sleep through an alarm when I have them in--but if you're able to wake up to an alarm it shouldn't be an issue.
posted by handful of rain at 7:31 AM on May 6, 2005

I've been using earplugs to drown out noisy roommates for years. The first few weeks are weird because of the pressure they create, but after you get used to them they're great. The back of the box will have a decible reduction rating from 0 to 34, get the highest rating you're able to buy.
posted by cmonkey at 7:36 AM on May 6, 2005

Have youse tried sleeping with your heads at the foot of the bed?
posted by Capn at 7:36 AM on May 6, 2005

I use a white noise machine AND earplugs. Some sound still gets through the earplugs, but with the machine on, that noise is just a mild buzzing which I quickly got used to.
posted by goatdog at 8:38 AM on May 6, 2005

Another vote for earplugs - my boyfriend is a snorer, and I'd be (more of) a gibbering wreck without earplugs. I prefer foam ones to wax ones.
posted by altolinguistic at 8:39 AM on May 6, 2005

Take a look at this site.

I don't think it should be too difficult to add something to one wall to make it quieter. Otherwise, go with the white noise generator and/or earplugs.
posted by anapestic at 8:55 AM on May 6, 2005

Speak to the neighbor about it. Chances are it bothers her too, so your mention of it might be well-received. Lots of people have snoring problems and there are various treatments out there. You might print out a couple and offer them to her. Try to take a "being helpful" approach, not a "making a complaint" approach. You should definitely be the one to go over there, not your woman.

You can hang tapestries up on that wall, or rugs. That will help. Put something spongy or rubbery under the legs of your bed, so that it's not conducting sound up from the floor. Put a rug under the bed.

But sometimes, if annoyance is a factor, it doesn't matter how faint the sound gets. If you can hear it, it pisses you off, you get outraged that people could be so insensitive, and it's that anger that wakes you up. If this is happening with your woman, I suggest she try to meditate on the fact that you guys can't afford your own place right now (if that's the case) and do her best to tune it out.

Earplugs are helpful. I tried a new kind last night and found them quite effective. No piching or twisting of them, either, which makes them different from all I've tried. They're called "Flents 'Quiet Down'" and were left here by an incredibly light sleeper I know.

If all else fails, file a noise complaint against your neighbor.

If that fails, get your own place.
posted by scarabic at 9:04 AM on May 6, 2005

Have you tried figuring out a way to get the neighbor's boyfriend out of the picture? How about breaking up that relationship?
posted by bh at 9:07 AM on May 6, 2005

I've tried the various white noise machines but never had much luck with them. I've found a big box fan to be much better at drowning out loud noises.
posted by event at 9:39 AM on May 6, 2005

She could always exhaust herself with physical exertion.
posted by mischief at 9:39 AM on May 6, 2005

Have you tried figuring out a way to get the neighbor's boyfriend out of the picture? How about breaking up that relationship?

Ah, sitcoms.

Kevin Kelly's "cool tools" has an entry on foam earplugs. Try several types before you give up on them.

Max Earplugs

These guys claim to be the world's best at 34db noise reduction, but that's only one decibel better than the foam ones, so unless they also stay in your ear longer and make you breakfast in the morning, you might not want to drop 10 bucks on them.

I personally prefer the firmer orange plugs sold to shooters under the "Smith and Wesson" brand at MalWart.

Sometimes the earplugs have a placebo effect, giving you 'permission" to sleep, so even when one falls out, you still sleep better.

soundproofing: read up on this before trying anything. One contractor friend told me that injecting the hollow wall with something like polyurethane will actually conduct more sound, for example.

Another suggestion would be to address the underlying reasons for her light sleep, including, possibly, a sleep study at a clinic. I had one of those done, and although I don't have sleep apnea they did gather some interesting data, none of which was ever interpreted for me.

This could be an opportunity, if it helps your fiancee learn more about her sleep.
posted by mecran01 at 9:51 AM on May 6, 2005

Thanks to all for the responses. Looks like we'll be giving earplugs a try.

Mischief- We've tried that. It hasn't worked yet; I'll post again if it does ;)
posted by schustafa at 10:16 AM on May 6, 2005

My favorite earplugs are the bright orange ones called Super Leights. They stay in well, are comfortable, and are the best noise-blockers I've found. Some of the others I've tried are too long and hurt your ears. You might also try some acoustic vinyl barriers for soundproofing, if aesthetics aren't a priority.
posted by xammerboy at 10:24 AM on May 6, 2005

Not to be trite, it's often remarked that when one drinks coffee, one's partner (or neighbor's boyfriend) snores.

It might be that helping your fiancee sleep better could include reducing caffeine, and perhaps extra exercise before bed.

Noises can be made less intrusive by increasing the ambient sound -- one of those boxes that makes rain or ocean sounds could help.
posted by anadem at 10:56 AM on May 6, 2005

+1 for white noise.

Most of my family members, myself included, rely pretty religiously on the drone of the ubiquitous $20 3-speed "box fan" for sound sleep (year round, no less). It's not unusual to witness one or more of us toting one amongst the usual luggage into my grandparents' house when arriving for family get-togethers.

Needless to say, absolute silence drives me nuts when I'm trying to fall asleep -- every little creak in the house or car driving by seems amplified tenfold.
posted by porntips guzzardo at 11:44 AM on May 6, 2005

PG: Awesome name. Took me ten full minutes to remember where I knew that phrase from...and then the memories flooded back...
posted by schustafa at 12:05 PM on May 6, 2005

Earplugs have worked three consecutive nights. Thanks everybody!
posted by schustafa at 6:43 AM on May 9, 2005

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