I’m a noisy sleeper. I admit it.
A lifelong snorer and teeth grinder, my restless, racket-inducing sleep has been a flashpoint in many relationships, spurring many nights on the couch. More times than I can count I’ve sprang awake gasping for air after the chick next to me pinched closed my nose in a futile bid for peace and quiet. Once while at a conference in Minneapolis my buddy actually got his own hotel room after being unable to sleep through my snores and teeth grinding.
Surely I feel bad about robbing people of their sleep, but there is little I can do about it. I’ve tried all the tricks: vapor rub, breathe-easy strips, sleeping on my side. Short of an electronic air splint used to treat sleep apnea, nothing seems to work.
It’s estimated that 30 to 50 percent of the U.S. population snores. Of these it’s estimated that 85 percent exceed 38 decibels, the equivalent of light traffic. These “heroic snorers” can be heard up to two rooms away, costing those around them an average of two hours of lost sleep per night. So problematic snorers are that a multi-national hotel chain has taken radical steps to eliminate the disturbances snorers cause for other guests.
Crowne Plaza Hotels has established ‘quiet zones’ in ten of its hotels in Europe and the Middle East, replete with snoring monitors who patrol the halls ensuring all is quiet. Guests who disturb the quiet zone with their snores will be forced to relocate at whatever hour to an ‘anti-snoring room,’ with special sound-proof walls, pillows that are only comfortable when sleeping on one’s side and white noise designed to drown out the snores and keep everyone else happy.
Representatives from the hotel chain say that if the program is successful they’ll install these anti-snoring rooms in all 234 U.S. Crowne Plaza hotels. It’s also reasonable to expect other chains to follow suit.
While the anti-snoring rooms must be a relief for partners of those who snore, the snoring monitors seem a tad excessive if not creepy. Do you really want some stranger with their ear to your door listening for snoring? What if you’re having sex? Or making a phone call? Sounds like a bad idea.
And for someone like me who has slept through fire alarms, ambulances, fights and all manner of discord, would the snoring monitors have authority to enter my room when I don’t wake to their pounding on my door? Will they be allowed to physically shake me awake? Can you imagine the fright of waking to a stranger in your hotel room?
Certainly non-snoring guests have a reasonable expectation of getting a good night’s sleep. And those aware of their snoring now have the option of being less of a nuisance to their neighbors and partner. But the idea of snore monitors raises all sorts of privacy issues and potential for abuse. As a snorer, I won’t patronize any hotel that has a policy of policing snoring. I suspect there are millions of others who feel the same.