My friend asked me an interesting question today: How to use meditation for sleeping with a snorer.
It turns out that her husband snores every night and keeps his wife awake. Naturally she’s getting a little irritated about the situation and is tired of dealing with sleep deprivation. Meditation, however, can help.
When it comes to using meditation for sleeping with a snorer, you’ve definitely got a lot of choices. You could choose to use some relaxing meditation sounds at night, to both block-out the snorer and to help you relax. White noise machines can be helpful too. And obviously, you could just stuff some earplugs in and be done with it. But some people don’t like any of those solutions. So how can you use meditation for sleeping with a snorer without blocking the noise or introduction relaxing sounds?
Thankfully, there are some excellent meditation techniques that help with sleeping with a snorer.
In the following meditation script, I reveal how you can use traditional meditation to sleep with someone who snores. You might also like to read my guide to sleep meditation techniques.
Meditation For Sleeping With A Snorer [Script]
*Also read my guide to mentally blocking out noises.
1: 1 hour before bed, meditate on your breath to begin the sleep process
To start with, we want to generally reduce noise sensitivity and noise reactivity, so that we can be in a noisy environment without being affected by it.
To do this we want to start with a relaxing meditation: mindful breathing. It is important to do this at least an hour before bed, because meditation can sometimes make us hyperaware of sounds (which does not help us sleep).
Sit comfortably with good posture. Now bring your conscious awareness to the point just beneath your nose. Focus on your breath moving through this spot. Continue to breathe. As you continue mindful breathing, gradually increase your awareness until you are meditating on your breath moving through your entire body.
By meditating on the breath, you are focusing your mind on something relaxing, instead of the sound of someone snoring. You are also stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system, which is producing feelings of calmness. Finally, you are increasing alpha brainwaves, which are brainwaves used in states of relaxation, such as before going to sleep. All of this is preparing you for a restful night’s sleep.
2: Continuing to meditate, start to label your thoughts and feelings to reduce noise sensitivity [Vipassana-style]
Only part of the problem of noise if the noise itself. The bigger problem is the way your mind reacts to noise. When you hear annoying noises, you try to ignore the sound. However, the brain is hardwired to interpret sounds as alerts. This hardwiring comes from millions of years ago when humans had to be alert to sounds so they knew if a predator was hunting them. You’re not going to beat this natural mechanism.
Because you’re trying to force yourself to do something unnatural (ignoring sounds), you are inevitably going to fail. The more you try and ignore sounds and fail, the more annoyed you will become. You will then feel angry because you can’t ignore the sound.
We need to flip this on its head. We need to accept the sound and accept the fact that the brain will automatically tune-in to the sound. To do this, we are going to practice the Buddhist meditation Vipassana.
Vipassana increases our tolerance for external stimuli, and reduces our reactivity to it .
To perform Vipassana, continue to meditate on your breath. Now calmly observe and label what occurs in the mind. For instance, if you experience a thought, calmly observe the thought and say, “This is just a thought”. I recommend you read the link above for full instructions on this technique.
Aim to practise Vipassana for ten minutes.
3: Continue your mindful breathing in bed
Try to get to bed at least ten minutes before the person who snores. This will give you an opportunity to relax your mind while you’re alone. While in bed, continue the instructions from step 1, mindfully observing your breath to relax.
We are now mentally prepared to handle the snorer.
4: Meditate on the sound of snoring while you’re in bed
This is going to seem completely backwards. You have probably always tried to ignore the sound of the snorer. But you fail. And the reason you fail is because your brain won’t ignore the sound. Your brain is designed to tune-in to sounds in order to know what’s occurring. When you try to ignore the snorer and fail, you get annoyed. You then start to think all sorts of frustrated and angry thoughts, which makes it even hard to get to sleep.
We need to flip this situation on its head. And although at first, you might think I’m crazy, the best way to turn the situation around is this: Intentionally meditate on the sound of the person snoring.
There is a rule in Buddhist that says that it is not the external stimuli that matters, but the way we react to it. We want to react to snoring by relaxing. And to do that we are going to meditate on the sound of the person snoring.
Focus your mind on the sound of the person snoring [make sure you are properly relaxed before you attempt to do this]. Focus your mind on the sound. You will inevitably still think negative thoughts. That’s fine. Deal with them using the instructions from step 2 when we did Vipassana. Calmly observe how your mind reacts to the snoring and label your thoughts and feelings.
As you meditate on the sound of the snorer and observe your thoughts and feelings, you will become less reactive to the snoring. After practice, you will find that you can listen to the sound of the person snoring without becoming angry or restless. Then you will be able to sleep with someone who snores.
It can be a nightmare trying to sleep with someone who snores. Almost everyone who attempts to sleep with a snorer does it the same way. They try to ignore the sound. But they fail. They fail because the brain is hardwired to tune in to sounds. Because they repeatedly fail at this task, they become angry and frustrated, making it even harder to get to sleep.
I am aware of how backwards this sounds. But the key to sleeping with a snorer is to accept the sound rather than try to ignore it. It is not the sound that matters. It is the way your mind reacts to it. By meditating on the person snoring, you will train your mind to accept the sound. Labelling your thoughts and feelings while you do this will also make you less reactive. That means you will feel less frustrated and you will experience less negative thoughts. Your mind will calm, and soon you will be able to sleep with someone who snores.
This is quite a challenge. Honestly, inexperienced meditators may struggle with this one. But the theory and principles are one hundred per cent accurate. You will never sleep with a snorer by trying to ignore the sound. You must learn to accept it and relax next to the noise.
1: Meditation (Vipassana) and the P3a event-related brain potential, BR Cahn, J Polich – International journal of psychophysiology, 2009