What percentage of people snore

Women snore like men, but they don't admit it - that's only half the story

Snoring men are a challenge in many relationships. However, a study now shows that women apparently snore as loudly and frequently as men. However, it depends on the interpretation of the data.

In the weekly column «Main thing, healthy», the authors take a personal look at topics from medicine, health, nutrition and fitness.

Men who snore are a regular topic of conversation for women. It is not uncommon for deafening snoring to arouse anger and aggression that can hardly be imagined during the day. A friend said that in moments like this she can understand why an 87-year-old woman suffocated her husband with a pillow in his sleep.

My husband claims that I also snore sometimes. Until recently, I thought that was a gross exaggeration. Maybe I breathe loudly once when I have a cold, but snore properly like him? Never ever.

But a recent study gave me pause. Researchers examined 1900 women and men who went to a sleep laboratory because of sleep problems. Here measuring devices showed that, in percentage terms, the same number of women snored as men. That alone would be astonishing enough, but the women reached a volume similar to that of the men. The maximum values ​​averaged 50 decibels, which corresponds to a normal conversation, the men brought it to 52 decibels.

Snoring is considered unfeminine

Previous surveys have shown that older people are more likely to snore than young people and more men than women. Here, however, the participants were interviewed over the phone. According to this, depending on the age group, 23 to 31 percent of women and 35 to 53 percent of men snored. But why did the measurements give a completely different picture? The researchers suspect that women did not answer honestly because snoring is considered unfeminine.

In fact, in the new study, 28 percent of women answered no when asked whether they snored. But 68 percent of them were wrong with this answer. 40 percent of the no-sayers even belonged to the loud to very loud snorers. Am I also subject to such self-delusion?

And does that mean that women really snore as often and loudly as men? No, absolutely not. Because the people examined in the study are a subgroup: They had seen a doctor about sleep problems and had been referred to a sleep laboratory by him.

You can imagine that there were a lot of snoring noses among them. Firstly, this is supported by the fact that the researchers found moderate to severe sleep apnea in two thirds of the study participants. This is often accompanied by snoring because the airways narrow in the process. Therefore, there is a regular lack of oxygen, which disrupts the sleep rhythm and is bad for your health in the long run. Second, men were twice as likely in the group studied. Neither is representative of the normal population.

A woman snores at 111 decibels

But it also becomes clear that snoring is not just a man's business. Women can also keep up with the volume. A British woman made headlines in 2009 because she measured 111 decibels in the sleep laboratory - for comparison: a jackhammer at a distance of one meter comes to 120 decibels.

From my point of view, men remain the worse snorers. After all, this is one of the reasons why women avoid the mixed compartments in youth hostels and night trains. On the other hand, I've never woken up because of a woman who snores.

Recommended book on snoring: Das Schnarch Buch, Peter Spork, Mabuse-Verlag 2019.

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