Research by Sue Venn of the University of Surrey shows that women are much more likely to passively accept their partner’s snoring than men. This means that women whose partners snore can lose up to five hour’s sleep a week, and this sleep deprivation can lead to greater daytime sleepiness, with serious implications for driving and other daytime activities.
While men are much more likely to prod or poke a snoring partner until they are awake, women tend to try to stop their partner snoring without waking them, which as Sue Venn says ’contributes to a woman being kept awake longer by their partner’s snoring’.
Additionally, those women who snore are less likely to admit to, and get treatment for the condition which may lead to other underlying medical conditions that need to be addressed. Snoring is seen by many women as something that is only acceptable for men to do, and because of this most will not seek treatment which could improve their sleep. Sue comments, ‘women seem to be embarrassed about admitting to snoring, yet it is important that they seek advice on whether their snoring is damaging their health.’
In a paper to be presented at the British Sociological Association conference (21-23 March), Sue will explain how women’s attitudes to their own sleep and that of their partners may affect both sleep quality and duration. The results of this ongoing research project have been achieved through audio ‘sleep diaries’ as well as interviews with the subjects both individually and as a couple.