Yes, Women Snore Too

I hate the fact that I snore. I’m not going to even pretend to be OK with it. Snoring as a woman is just embarrassing.

Men are twice as likely to snore as women, until we reach menopause. Then, it’s about 50-50. (Ah, yet another indignity of age.)1

But when men snore, it’s funny. It’s a classic movie trope that in any given Army barrack, college fraternity bunkroom, or all-guys camping trip, there will be at least one fella sawing logs.

It’s probably the fat guy (with undiagnosed OSA) who everyone likes, and they’ll bust his chops about it the next day, but no one will think he’s less manly for it. Hell, the opposite might even be true. Snoring is masculine.

Women, farts, and snoring

For women, it’s different. Remember the old expression, “Horses sweat; men perspire; women glow”? I know things are much better today. But we ladies traditionally weren’t supposed to acknowledge our earthier bodily functions.

We tried not to fart in front of our boyfriends. We denied ever stopping up a toilet. Snoring isn’t ladylike either, so we denied ever doing that too. When we sleep, we’re supposed to be dainty, or elegant, like Sleeping Beauty. But yes, we snore too.

Female snoring is like the adult equivalent of bedwetting for kids, in terms of potential social humiliation. When you’re a kid who sometimes wets the bed (don’t ask how I know this), you’re terrified of slumber parties. What if IT happens and everyone makes fun of you? And then they tell the rest of the kids at school?

Snoring and tricky social settings

Then you grow up and get invited on girls’ trips, but you can’t share a room with anyone. You lightly joke about it and pass out earplugs and remember not to drink too much wine, because you know alcohol makes it worse.

You take nasal decongestants and wait until everyone else falls asleep before you let yourself drift off, fingers crossed. You hope that everyone will be tactful and considerate and not bring it up over breakfast. Or back at the office. But yes, women snore too.

Plus, the hearts of women who snore may be damaged more quickly than those of men who snore, according to a recent study.2 So it’s very important to get checked out if you’re a woman who snorts and snuffles through the night.

Avoiding a sleep divorce with my mate

I was already married when my snoring became a problem. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be out there dating as an untreated snorer. It’s bad enough that without my CPAP machine, I snore so loudly my husband has to flee to the guest room, aka sleep divorce.

We both sleep better, but it makes me sad. I was worried that my CPAP mask and machine would be utterly unsexy. But you know what’s REALLY unsexy? Your mate sleeping down the hall.

Benefits of an obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis

I initially sought help from my primary care physician and then an ENT specialist for my snoring. Most people who snore don’t have OSA—but most people who have OSA do snore, I learned. A sleep test revealed that I’m one of those who DOES have OSA.

And while no one wants to have a sleep disorder, an official diagnosis did enable me to explore treatments with at least some financial support from health insurance.

Snore? You're not alone

I still snore. If the seal on the CPAP mask isn’t quite 100 percent, or I take a spontaneous, bare-faced nap, I can wake myself up with a chainsaw-like buzz. And if a genie in a bottle granted me three wishes, I’d get rid of it immediately. (After world peace and no more cancer.) But I know I’m not alone. Because yes, women snore too.

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