What to Do If Your Roommate Snores

An Unintentional Habit Can Wreak Havoc on Your College Life

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(Tim Kitchen / Getty Images)

When you dreamed of going to college, it almost certainly didn't include visions of trying to sleep while your roommate loudly snores only a few feet away. And when you're sharing a tiny space with someone who makes a lot of noise while they sleep, it can feel downright impossible to get any rest. Add on the fact that you're likely not getting enough sleep anyway, and you have one small situation that quickly balloons into a serious problem.

If your roommate snores in a way that is preventing you from getting your much-needed zzzzs every night, you'll need to address the situation ASAP. Doing so wisely, however, is likely to increase your chances of finding a workable solution that everyone is happy with.

1. First and foremost, mention it to your roommate. If you're waking up super cranky and mad at your roommate, and they have no idea why you can't expect them to guess why you're so upset. If your roommate snores a lot, you'll have to bring it up if you're ever going to move toward a solution. How you bring the topic up, however, matters a lot. Avoid angry accusations like "You snore so much!" or "Why are you snoring like that all the time?" Your roommate is not snoring on purpose and is certainly not doing so just to make you upset. Try to bring it up gently, as your roommate may not even know that they snore. "Did you know that you snore pretty loudly?" "Have you ever been told that you snore a bit?" "Have you ever talked to anyone about your snoring?"

2. Remember that snoring can indicate some other issues. Don't just view snoring as a bad habit; it can be a medical issue for some people, too. The multiple causes of snoring should help you keep in mind that this isn't something that can just be fixed, like a dirty roommate or one who takes your stuff all of the time.

Be patient and considerate as your roommate looks to see what's causing the snoring.

3. Find some temporary fixes. As you and your roommate work to find long(er)-term solutions to the snoring problem, look into some short-term fixes. Can you get earplugs? Ask your roommate to try to sleep on their side? Reconfigure the room so your beds aren't so close? Ask your roommate to avoid alcohol before bed? Look into getting and using a white noise machine? 

4. Look into long(er)-term fixes. Your roommate might just need to change some sleeping habits; similarly, they might also have some serious medical concerns that aren't going to fixed quite so easily. If that's the case, look into some longer-term fixes. And know that it's perfectly okay for one of those fixes to be finding another roommate. Sleep is important -- for both of you. And if your roommate has something serious going on that is preventing you from getting some sleep, don't hesitate to talk to your RA or other residence hall staff member about possibly switching roommates. It doesn't have to mean anyone is doing anything wrong; it just means that you aren't a great match for each other. You can still be a great match for someone else.

5. Keep things pleasant and friendly. Consider how you'd want to be treated if you were in your roommate's shoes. Would you want someone, for example, taking video of your snoring and posting it online somewhere? Definitely not. Would you want your roommate to be gossiping with friends about how horrible you are to share a room with? No thanks. Your roommate's snoring isn't an intentional act designed to make your life horrible. Consequently, aim for understanding and patience as you both work to find a solution. It might take a while, but there's no reason why both of you can't be kind, respectful adults during the process.