Is snoring contagious? The short answer to this question is no – Snoring is not contagious. Snoring has no infectious particles involved in it. It is not caused by or directly related to any kind of infectious process so you can’t “catch it”.The medical term “contagious” refers to something that can be spread from one person (or organism) to another and infers an infectious particle causes the spread, like a virus or bacteria.
We know that behaviour is contagious. The likelihood of a yawn generally increases sixfold after seeing someone else yawn but it varies very much on an individual level. Interestingly, the urge to yawn is also increased when seeing someone else yawn if we are asked not to also yawn. You may have heard of the comment, “Don’t think of a pink elephant!”. It may be linked to something called ‘Social Mirroring’ or ‘Echophenomena’ – These are basically, involuntary (or uncontrollable consciously) copying of behaviours. They are linked to increased activity and excitability in the motor (muscle controlling parts) parts of our brains.
Snoring versus Yawning
But what about something like yawning? You may have heard that yawning is contagious and that isn’t infectious. This is quite right. Scientists do occasionally refer to contagious yawning and we have all been in a room when someone yawns and you feel like doing (or do) the same.
The dictionary also picks up on the fact that the word contagious also refers to something else: “An emotion, feeling or attitude, likely to spread to and affect others. For example, “her emotion is contagious”. Yawning is an example of that type of contagious.
So why doesn’t snoring follow the same pattern as yawning?
Well, that’s a good question and because there is no evidence of truly increased activity it doesn’t seem to be extremely well researched. Likely important reasons however are probably due to the fact that, in most cases, both parties are asleep at the time and the conscious awareness of the behaviour of another person near us simply isn’t there for the body to feel a need to replicate or mirror it. It’s only when we are awake or have been woken by our partner that we are truly aware they are snoring and the last thing we feel like doing is copying that noise! Because, for true snoring, we almost always need to be asleep the process isn’t going to occur. When and if we can fall asleep, we immediately lose awareness of our partners behaviour.
Remember whilst many behaviours are prone to mirroring, many are not. We are not prone to making any other copying noise made by someone else in a room. We might, for example, become more: lively, noisy, silly, calm or sad and adjust our voice accordingly but not actually likely to replicate the exact same noise.
So why do people believe it is?
It is possibly because snoring is so common and it is something we don’t like to admit we do as it is socially not well accepted. Naturally, we all try to look for excuses or external factors when caught out with something poorly accepted that points to us. Remember snoring will affect most of us at some point in our lives and more than 25% of people snore regularly – therefore it isn’t unusual to have both partners snoring in a bed. Consider also that perhaps both parties also shared a bottle of wine (or two) one night and the risk of this increases still further! Perhaps both are also carrying a little extra weight or both missed any exercises and still, the risks go up. All of these factors are more likely to be the cause than any social mirroring or looser term contagious behaviour.
So, if you had asked is snoring contagious and now perhaps you do have to face the fact it isn’t and therefore it isn’t your partner’s fault that you are now snoring – perhaps you are looking for a solution to the problem.
Snorgo may well be the new solution to help cure your snoring without the need to wear anything at night. Snorgo is a training device that strengthens the mouth and throat (pharyngeal) muscles. It was recently developed in the UK and has had some great results, being one of the few training device solutions worldwide. It has some great testimonials, including doctors and dentists and is constantly undergoing further research.
Dr Pete Naylor is the inventor of Snorgo, a patented snoring cure made in the UK recommended by medical doctors.
Wirral CCG Chair 2014 – 2016
General Practitioner (GP) 2000-2017
National Institute for health and Care Excellence National GP representative (Diagnostics) 2012 – 2018
Associate Medical Director ICE Creates 2018 – 2020
Senate Council Member Merseyside 2014 – 2017
Forensic Medical Examiner Merseyside/Wirral 2005 – 2008
Youth Justice Management Board Wirral 2015 – 2017
NHS Doctor 1996 – 2017
GMC registered Doctor 1996 to present
Master of Science in Medical Leadership Birkbeck University and Royal College of Physicians. (Awarded Merit) 2013
OPP Myers Briggs Trainer, 2010. Subsequently also completed Step 2 to further support training
Diploma in Occupational Health, 2006
Diploma in Child Health, 2000
Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery, Sheffield University, 1996
Bachelor of Science, Psychiatric Neurobiology, Sheffield, 1995. Work produced papers on mRNA and Brain Plasticity.
Outstanding Innovative and Inspirational Leader 2013 Northwest Leadership Academy (Given for commissioning work with Wirral Health Commissioning Consortium.)
Vision Award 2012 (National award): Best Long Term Condition Initiative for WHCC
North West Respiratory Best Practice Award 2012: Self Care Award for WHCC
Diploma in Occupational Health – annual award