Snoring Men On Commuter Trains

If you’re a bus or a train commuter, I’m sure you’ve sat next to or near a loudly snoring man or woman. Most often, they’ll be older or overweight, but they can be you and thin as well. Whenever it happens, it can be an uncomfortable situation for everyone involved. My first reaction is to wake him up and ask if he’s been treated of obstructive sleep apnea, but that would be rude. I’ve also thought about slipping one of my cards into his pocket.

The snoring sounds and the neck position are classic: His head is bent forward somewhat as he begins to snore louder and louder. He stops breathing abruptly, and then wakes up enough to lift up his head, and the cycle starts all over again.

It just kills me that statistically, this person will go on living with a potentially life-threatening condition that may be harmful to himself or to others. Unless someone is rude to this person and makes him realize that he may have a serious medical problem, he’s never going to find out. Unfortunately, even his doctor is unlikely to ask about his sleep quality, or even inquire about any snoring. He’ll continue to be treated for his high blood pressure and diabetes, wondering why his numbers aren’t coming down.

I make every effort to give out information about sleep apnea in any public or social setting (within reason, of course). For example, one of my neighbors in my building just happened to mention that her husband snores heavily after finding out what I do for a living. She eventually gets her husband to see a sleep doctor, who confirms obstructive sleep apnea, and places him a CPAP machine. He’s now sleeping much better, and his wife is sleeping better too. Invariably, one or two people that I meet at social functions have revelations as to why they’re so tired, no matter how long they sleep, eat healthy and exercise regularly.

How often do you see or meet someone what has obvious sleep apnea, but were afraid to say anything? How did it make you feel?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Snoring Men On Commuter Trains

  1. The biggest barrier in helping people understand about sleep apnea/upper airway resistance syndrome is that our society accepts snoring as normal.

  2. Yes, Sara is correct and we need to come quickly to the point where society recognizes snoring as a pathological problem.

    There is also a problem with denial. I have been aggressive about telling people that they clearly have symptoms of OSA. A few have responded positively. However, some are defensive and insulted.

    Cards to handout which state that the receiver has exhibited the signs of OSA, that it is a deadly condition, and that a doctor should be consulted, are a great idea.

    Of course some would still be defensive and insulted but at least I could walk away before they read the card. :)

    I think of all the overseas/overnight flights I took for decades and sure wish that someone had warned me that I was snoring and having labored breathing before I did so much damage to my health.