woman snoring while man looks annoyed woman snoring while man looks annoyed Time to fess up, ladies: You do your share of snoring, too. (Photo: LightField Studios/Shutterstock)

Women snore, too – they just don't admit it

But why? A new study explores the reason that women's snoring goes largely underreported.

Ah, snoring. One of the least romantic, and most frustrating, drawbacks of cohabitation. Forgive us this misdeed, for we know not what we do when our bodies are horizontal and our airways are narrowed.

But if we're going to talk about snoring, we need to get real. There's a glaring misconception we've been ignoring all these years. Ladies, I'm looking at you.

It turns out that women snore, too – but it's a phenomenon that's largely underreported, both in prevalence and in intensity, according to a new study by Ben-Gurion University and Soroka University Medical Center, both in Israel.

The new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, involved 1,913 patients with an average age of 49 who were referred to sleep disorder centers for evaluation. Of those patients, it was found that 88% of the women snored, yet only 72% reported it. Among men, however, 93% were snorers, and they all self-reported.

Further into the study, researchers found that women snored as loudly as men. Women's mean maximal snoring intensity of 50 decibels was almost identical to the 51.7 decibels recorded from the men. And, about 49% of the women had severe or very severe snoring of 60 decibels or more (329 of 675), but only 40% of the women rated their snoring at this severity level (269 of 675).

"Although we found no gender difference in snoring intensity, women tend to underreport the fact that they snore and underestimate the loudness of their snoring," says Professor Nimrod Maimon, principal investigator and lecturer at BGU’s Faculty of Health Sciences and the head of internal medicine at Soroka. "The fact that women reported snoring less often and described it as milder may be one of the barriers preventing women from reaching sleep clinics for a sleep evaluation."

So why, you might wonder, is this gender disparity worth studying? For one, it shines a light on why so few women undergo sleep studies to test for obstructive sleep apnea, which can be life-threatening if left untreated. Snoring is a primary symptom of sleep apnea, though it doesn't necessarily mean that you have apnea if you snore. According to Sleepapnea.org, 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, and 80% of cases of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea are undiagnosed.

So, for those of you who are afflicted by the unnerving sounds of your partner sawing logs in bed beside you between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. ... with a few (blissful) breaks in between ... we feel your pain, gender notwithstanding.

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Women snore, too – they just don't admit it
But why? A new study explores the reason that women's snoring goes largely underreported.