About 40 percent of men and 25 percent of women snore regularly, but not everyone is aware of their snoring problem. Since snoring only happens when you’re asleep, you may wonder how to tell if you snore. Fortunately, there are several options you can try to determine whether or not you’re a snorer.
Ask Your Bed Partner
The easiest way to find out whether or not you snore is to ask your bed partner. If you share a bed with someone, they’re sure to know if you have a snoring problem. If your bed partner is a deep sleeper and may be sleeping through your snores, ask them to stay awake for some time after you fall asleep to listen.
If your partner confirms that you snore, you should ask them to listen for pauses in your breathing while you sleep. This can be a sign of sleep apnea, a dangerous disorder that causes you to stop breathing frequently throughout the night. If your partner notices a pause in breathing followed by a gasp or a fast inhale, you may have sleep apnea.
If you don’t have a bed partner, try asking roommates or family members who live with you if they’ve ever heard you snoring. Some people snore so loudly that the sound carries into other rooms, so friends or family may be able to inform you of your sleep-disordered breathing problem.
Look for Snoring Symptoms
Snoring sometimes causes symptoms that you can notice while you’re awake. These symptoms aren’t necessarily a sign of snoring, but they can help you figure out whether you might have a snoring problem.
One of the most common snoring symptoms is waking up with a sore throat. When you snore, the tissues in your mouth and throat vibrate against each other, which can cause irritation. Also, the air has to forcefully push past the collapsed tissues in the back of your mouth, so the airflow can dry out your throat. You may wake up with a bad taste in your mouth, too.
Another symptom of snoring is excessive daytime sleepiness. Even if you sleep for eight hours every night, snoring can affect the quality of your sleep. You may feel exhausted no matter how much you sleep, and the tiredness can lead to irritability, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems.
Create a Sleep Log
A sleep log can help you notice patterns in your sleeping habits that may indicate that you snore. Your sleep log can include whatever information you think is important, but most logs focus on the time you fell asleep, the time you got up, how frequently you woke up throughout the night, and how rested you felt the next day.
To track snoring habits, you may want to include information in your sleep log about common snoring triggers. For example, try to remember whether you fell asleep on your back or on your side. It’s more common to snore when you sleep on your back. If you look at your log and notice that you always feel tired the day after sleeping on your back, it may be a sign that you snore and that the snoring affects your sleep quality.
Other common snoring triggers include sleep deprivation, drinking alcohol before bed, and having dust or allergens in the room. Look for connections in your sleep log between these triggers and feeling tired or waking up frequently throughout the night.
Use Apps to Record Yourself While You Sleep
One of the easiest ways to find out if you snore is to take advantage of modern technology and download a snoring app on your phone. There are a variety of apps available, but most work in similar ways. You can open the app before you go to sleep, and it will listen for sounds throughout the night. The app will start recording whenever it picks up on noise, and you can listen to the collection of recordings in the morning. It may pick up other sounds besides snoring, but you should be able to recognize snores if you hear them.
SnoreLab is one of the most popular and highly-rated snoring apps. It keeps track of when you snore and how loudly you snore, and it provides tips to help treat your sleep-disordered breathing. Do I Snore or Grind is another popular app that records snoring and teeth grinding sounds. If you think you might also grind your teeth in your sleep, this app can help take care of both problems.
Try Snoring Tests
You can try a few easy tests to see if you snore. These tests might not tell you with complete certainty that you snore, but they can help you figure out if it’s a possibility. If you know that you snore, these tests can help you figure out exactly why.
The first option is a tongue test. Snoring often happens when the tongue collapses over the airway and vibrates against the other tissues as you inhale. To determine whether this happens to you, stick out your tongue, hold it in place with your teeth, and try to make a snoring sound. If you’re unable to make a snoring sound with your tongue held forward, there’s a chance that you snore when your tongue falls back over your throat.
The next option is to test your nose while looking in a mirror. Push gently on the side of one nostril until it closes, and inhale through your other nostril. Notice whether or not your nostril pulls inward or collapses while you inhale. It it does, try holding the nostril open while you inhale to see if that makes it easier to breathe.
If you have to hold your nostril open to breathe easily, there’s a good chance you snore. You may breathe through your mouth in your sleep because you don’t get enough air when breathing through your nose, and this increases your chances of snoring.
See a Physician
If you’re unable to determine whether or not you snore, you should see your physician. Snoring can be a serious problem, especially when it’s linked to sleep apnea. Your physician may know how to tell if you snore even if you’re unsure, and they can give suggestions for snoring devices or treatments.
You can also see a sleep specialist to discuss the possibility of you snoring or having another sleep disorder. A sleep specialist can give you an at-home sleep test or schedule an overnight sleep study at a lab. This will confirm your snoring problem, which is the first step in treating it.