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Health Answers: Why does my husband’s snoring wake me up but not him?

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Q: Why does my husband’s snoring wake me up but not him?

A: Why snorers seem to sleep peacefully while their bedmates suffer is not entirely known. But Ronald Chervin, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Michigan Health System, says it probably relates to how the brain processes sensory information during sleep. A part of the brain called the thalamus filters out sensations that normally would come to our consciousness if awake. Some sounds rouse us more than others — hearing your name is more likely to awaken you than a random word. And constant or repetitive noises like a fan spinning or a clock ticking wake us less than irregular noises. Chervin says that noise coming from our own bodies may be less likely to alarm us.

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