Sleep Better

Is Your Snoring As Loud As a Power Drill?

An image of Lucy Dodds
20 Apr 20216 min read

If you’ve shared a bed with someone that snores (or you do it yourself), you’ll be aware of how disruptive it can be to your sleep. However, you might not know just how loud this common nightly noise can get.

We conducted a study of 70 self-confessed snorers to find out what level of decibels (dB) we’re dealing with and have put together some expert tips to reduce snoring from Steve Adams, CEO at Mattress Online.

The average person snores louder than a vacuum cleaner, according to our study

Our research reveals that the average person snores around 72.2 dB, which is louder than a vacuum cleaner or a car travelling at 65 mph. You can imagine how disruptive snoring can be for your partner if they are trying to sleep with a vacuum cleaner beside them!

Our loudest snore recorded is as noisy as a power drill

The loudest recorded snore in our study hit an impressive 96.8 dB, which is equal to the sound of a power drill or a Boeing 737 jet flying one mile overhead. Here’s what the drill sounds like – could you sleep next to this?

Turn up your volume and click play to hear the power drill.

If you want to hear the snore yourself, we visualised the sound, so you can ‘see’ what our loudest snore looks like too.

Turn up your volume and click play on the video below.

Our loudest snore was 41.8 dB noisier than the average snorer, which could even be hazardous to spend a night with. Listening to anything over 85 dB for a prolonged period could start to cause damage to your hearing or at the very least make you extremely annoyed, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

At the other end of the snoring spectrum, the quietest snore was 27.8 dB, around the same volume as a ‘soft whisper’ – sounds almost soothing!

It’s official – men snore the loudest and they’re as noisy as a coffee grinder

The men we received data from in our snoring study averaged out across the group at a volume of 74.3 dB. To put this in context, trying to sleep next to the average male snorer would be the equivalent of leaving a coffee grinder running by the bed.

Turn up the volume and click play to hear a coffee grinder.

While quieter overall, the average female snore was only 5 dB less (69.8 dB), which is the same volume as an electric shaver.

At the top end of the women’s snore scale, one respondent logged 84.9 dB. To put that into perspective, this snore is roughly the same as trying to get to sleep in the middle of a noisy restaurant.

Turn up the volume. Click play to hear a busy restaurant.

You can also see what the loudest female’s snore ‘looks like’ with our animation below.

Turn up your volume and click play on the video below.

Snoring understandably causes friction if it’s an ongoing issue, but it could also be a sign that there are underlying health problems if you’re hitting a high volume with your snores.

Is snoring something to be concerned about?

About half of us (45%) will experience occasional snoring whilst a quarter of people are habitual snorers. It can be caused by numerous factors but is essentially a result of muscles and tissue in your mouth and throat relaxing as you sleep, allowing them to vibrate and causing that infamous series of snorts.

While it’s common and, if it isn’t causing you or your partner issues sleeping, shouldn’t be a major cause for concern – when coupled with any of the following symptoms – it’s worth getting a check-up to be on the safe side.

  • You’re a very loud snorer
  • Pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Being tired during the day and finding it hard to concentrate
  • Waking up with a headache or sore throat
  • Often having restless sleep
  • Difficulty breathing at night (gasping or choking)
  • High blood pressure
  • Getting chest pains in the night

Visualising the sound of sleep apnoea

If you recognise some of these symptoms, you may have a condition known as ‘sleep apnoea’ which affects your breathing while you sleep and causes you to snort or choke a lot during the night.

Here is what snoring with this sleep disorder sounds like from one of our respondents with mild sleep apnoea.

Turn up your volume and click play on the video below.

It can be tricky to accurately diagnose yourself with sleep apnoea (you’re asleep when the clearer symptoms show after all) but if you’re concerned you may have it, there’s no harm in consulting a medical professional. There is a range of treatment and preventative options available which can help you get an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

9 top tips to silence your snores

Here are some steps you can take to curb your nightly noise for both your own health and the benefit of anyone sharing a bed with you.

  1. Exercise – Keeping physically fit strengthens more than your abs, it can also tone your mouth and throat muscles which will reduce instances of snoring.
  2. Stop smoking – One more reason to kick the habit, it shouldn’t be a surprise that smoking isn’t great for your airways and can exacerbate snoring symptoms.
  3. Don’t lie on your back – Sleeping on your back leaves the base of your tongue and soft palette resting on the wall of your throat which causes vibrations (read: snoring), you’re much better off sleeping on your side. 
  4. Avoid alcohol close to bedtime – As alcohol acts as a muscle relaxant, this is also the case with those in your throat and mouth, meaning that if you drink too late or have a few too many – it’s likely you’re setting yourself up for a night of snores.
  5. Keep on top of nasal congestion – If you’re prone to a blocked nose or allergies, make sure you’re taking the correct, recommended nasal decongestants or similar medication to ensure your airways aren’t restricted while you sleep which will lead to snoring.
  6. Drink plenty of water – Staying hydrated prevents mucus build-up in the mouth and throat which can make snoring worse. Of course, it’s a bit of a balancing act as you don’t want to drink so much you have to get up during the night so don’t overdo it.
  7. Try to lose weight – Dropping a few lbs and eating healthier will reduce the amount of fatty tissue in the back of your throat which reduces the chances and, in some cases, can completely stop snoring.
  8. Invest in a humidifier – To combat snoring caused by breathing in drier air leading to irritation of the throat and mouth it may be worth giving a humidifier a try to both increase moisture in the air and combat allergens.
  9. Give your partner silicone earplugs – Silicone earplugs are designed to block sounds without penetrating your ear much, so are said to be more comfortable than foam alternatives. Plus, some foam earplugs can be reused if you clean them properly. 

For more insights on everything from how to get your sleep pattern back on track to purging harmful toxins from your bedroom, take a look through the Mattress Online blog.


Mattress Online gathered data from 70 UK residents recording their snoring - 37 men and 33 women. Decibels (dB) were logged using the 'Decibel X' app and max figure used. The three loudest snores (two male and one female) were decibel-accurate at the time of recording; however, the sound will be altered depending on playback volume.

Maybe it's your partner that keeps you up all night with their snoring instead, don't worry, our post 'How to Stop Your Partner Snoring' has all the help you need!