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So every few months I go away for a weekend with a large group (100 people give or take). We generally sleep in a camphouse, which has dorm-like accomodation with a few bunkbeds per room.

There are a few notorious snorers in the group. Previous experiences have made it so that I would prefer not to sleep in the same room again.

Last time, we arrived early, so we (me and my gf) were the first to claim a room. There were two beds left. Then someone, who is a known snorer, came and asked whether the beds were still available.

This is a tricky situation. I feel like it would be unpolite to flat-out lie about the beds still being available, but similarly, allowing would cause their own problems.

I personally am not a light sleeper (I'd describe it as being in a coma), but during the process of falling asleep, snoring can be pretty disruptive. This would definitely cause similar problems to the folks nextdoor.

How can I tell them that I don't want them to share my room without being offensive or impolite?

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    How is this organized? The obvious solution would be to simply share the room with someone you are comfortable with and arrange for that beforehand. – Polygnome Dec 4 '17 at 14:30
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    This is only very slightly different from interpersonal.stackexchange.com/q/3914/1970 . – shoover Dec 4 '17 at 18:11
  • @shoover that question focuses on what to do at night. This is about trying to avoid that situation altogether. – JAD Dec 4 '17 at 18:35
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    Note to future answerers: Please don't recommend that the OP use earplugs! We've already had quite a few (now-deleted) answers say that; the problem with such answers is that they're not interpersonal solutions. Jarko has specifically indicated that they want to talk to the snorer; please respect that request. Thanks. – HDE 226868 Dec 4 '17 at 20:52
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I feel like it would be unpolite to flat-out lie about the beds still being available, but similarly, allowing would cause their own problems.

You're on to something here. Telling someone that you mind their snoring might be offensive, but lying to someone always is. It lets on that you don't think of them highly enough to give them the truth, and it can come back to bite you badly.

I sleep walk from time to time, and occasionally even talk in my sleep. To my friends, this is distracting and can ruin the quality of their sleep. There is nothing offensive about telling me this directly, unless you phrase it like it's a character flaw. So I recommend something like:

Yes, these beds are still available. I have very light sleep though, and you're a bit noisy when sleeping, so it would be nice if you could find another bed in the camphouse.

This isn't inherently offensive. It's as non-offensive as you can get in these situations. In fact, most snorers will appreciate that you're telling them why, because the one thing that hurts more then being rejected is being shooed off like you're not even worth the explaination of it.

I definitely recommend against lying, if it comes out (and it will) they will feel insulted and belittled by your lie.

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    Well obviously we are extremely opposite to each other. LOL – Crazy Cucumber Dec 4 '17 at 12:41
  • Your answer is much better than mine, deleting mine. +1 – Crazy Cucumber Dec 4 '17 at 12:42
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I was in exactly your place years ago. I tried several things but in the end the real solution was this:

Approach the organisation, explain the situation, and propose to introduce a 'silence room' for light sleepers.

In addition ask around for good candidates to fill it, and have a covenant about noise during the event. Ours was, early night or undress in the bathroom and sneak into your bed without speaking. The same for getting up early. Worked like a charm!

And because everyone was in on it the room was tagged clearly before people arrived, chosen for being off the beaten track, away from the toilets & bar.

Never had any problems about snoring after that either, I forget because snorers are usually solid sleepers or some other reason.

To handle snoring it is also best to be open about being a light sleeper. Last time I shared a room with a snorer we agreed that I could prod him and clearly say 'stop snoring'. But he was a real social guy and knew he would:

  1. Turn half-asleep, stopping the noise
  2. Continue sleeping

It saved my night. But this was a veteran snorer, it will not always be possible to take this road, especially in a silence room.

Generic advice:
Explain your problem, agree upon an approach that saves both your nights. Often that will indeed mean different rooms.

  • P.S. Might it perhaps be LARP? – Bookeater Dec 4 '17 at 15:28
  • It might be LARP. – JAD Dec 4 '17 at 16:50
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    In my experience the usual LARP solution is to stay awake until you're tired enough to sleep through anything....... – user3067860 Dec 4 '17 at 19:10
  • @user3067860 I've met people chatting at the bar until the deep end of the night before nodding off/going KO and even one extreme case of a guy that just did not sleep at all during the entire weekend. Oh, to be young again :-) – Bookeater Dec 4 '17 at 20:36
  • @user3067860 personal experience: I've had to share a hospital room (4 beds) with two loud snorers. A replacement room wasn't available for me. I decided to spend the night in the lobby and then sleep in the morning. The staff denied me sleep and a replacement room with three empty beds was available in a couple of hours. – John Dvorak Dec 5 '17 at 15:43
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As a snorer, and I've tried plenty to stop it, just be honest and upfront. Let them know that you have trouble sleeping when there is someone snoring. It's rare that a snorer doesn't know it, and while it is frustrating to be told this, it is definitely better than the alternatives - being woken through various means, or another not getting sleep.

Normally, people can learn to filter out repetitive noises, and if you can't, that's no more your fault than it is the fault of the snorer that he snores.

As long as you are honest about it, it's the best way to go. If you were to get caught out in a lie, then that is most definitely hurtful, and may be taken as if there was another reason for it, which neither party will want, and can hurt relationships.

In this situation, I would recommend trying to fill those empty beds beforehand if possible, as "they are already taken" when true is typically not hurtful.

I'll note that if you do end up sharing with a snorer, please don't wake them. As they were asleep and you were restless, they will likely drop off again before you do, unless they force themselves to stay awake, and then when they do sleep, they may wake you again. This becomes a cycle and ruins both your sleep patterns.
Try earplugs etc, and if you still can't sleep, it is better to talk to them in the morning to discuss solutions (they will be in a better mood if they slept too) and change arangements for the next time. They will usually be sorry for keeping you awake and be happy to change rooms etc if possible.

  • Instead of waking snorer up, sometimes it is possible to trick him into changing body position that he stops snoring naturally. The problem is that the effect is only temporary – mpasko256 Dec 4 '17 at 18:22
  • @mpasko256 I can't speak for anyone else, but apparently I snore on my back, either side, on my front, when upright in a chair... – Baldrickk Dec 5 '17 at 14:04
  • Yes, it is not about body orientation. Rather something like tongue and jaw configuration. When a snorer closes his mouth, he can still snore but obviously less loudly so anybody around can fall asleep easily. – mpasko256 Dec 5 '17 at 17:14
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Does the person in question know that they are a prolific snorer? If they have a self-awareness you might be best with something like:

I'm not sure. We have a few people here already and I'm a light sleeper, can you be sure not to make much noise?

This may still offend them but at the very least it makes it so you are not personally singling out this person, which would be more hurtful IMO. If they still insist, you could apologise, tell them you still aren't sure and suggest another place they could go.

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My congregation has retreats with shared rooms. I share your pain.

When possible, I make specific plans for a roommate beforehand, and whoever gets there first signs us both in on the rooms sheet. One year I couldn't do this and instead I waited until rooms started to fill in, and then found a room with one slot left and no known snorers. I find it easier to avoid the situation in one of these two ways than to have a difficult conversation. (The question title asks about avoidance, so I thought it ok to answer this way.)

Many snorers know they snore, and I once told somebody who talks openly about her own (loud!) snoring "hey no, I like you, but we can't share a room". Otherwise, like other answers have said, I'll say something that makes it sound more like my problem -- "I'm a light sleeper and I can't handle even mild snoring, sorry". Even if I know the person snores like a buzz-saw, this approach helps the other person save face.

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I've had the experience of sharing a rental house with 20-30 people several times, and my solution is always to just ask people if they snore before deciding on where to bunk. In fact, I've had the best experiences where, when I'm amongst a group of people who know they will have to be in one shared room or another, just identify all the snorers before making arrangements. As in, "Is anyone a snorer who will be sharing rooms? Is there anyone that isn't bothered by it and wouldn't mind sharing a room with John Snorer?"

This has the added benefit of being able to group all the snorers together in a single room, and thus isolate all the noisy people together :). This works especially well if you bunk with the same group of friends often--people will get reputations as snorers and will end up bunking in the same room.

If all else fails (like the first time I did this and didn't ask, and then ended up with two of the loudest snorers ever), make sure you always pack foam earplugs!

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    I as a snorer actually prefer not to be with other snorers, though. – Paŭlo Ebermann Dec 4 '17 at 21:49
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    @PaŭloEbermann Probably if everyone got a choice they'd prefer to be with non-snorers :), but if you're forced to divvy people up, it definitely makes the most sense to put snorers with snorers so that the least number of people possible are disturbed. – spacetyper Dec 4 '17 at 21:57
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In my experience on a men's only church retreat trip, we had 3 or 4 cabins, with one designated specifically as the snorer's, or the loud cabin. This worked because there were fewer of us that did snore, and some willing to sleep in there that didn't mind having to hear it all night (me being a snorer and used to it also from having to hear my dad at night for years). This may not help in your situation currently, but you could bring it up on future trips to those that are running it as a solution.

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