To see how snoring affects the sleep of a bed partner, doctors at the Mayo Clinic studied 10 married couples in which the husband was being checked for obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing recurrently stops and starts as someone snores.
When the husbands were fitted with an oxygen mask-like device called a C-pap that stopped snoring and irregular breathing episodes, wives on average got more than one hour's extra sleep.
The research, published in the October issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, said the condition was considered serious because it raises blood pressure and strains the cardiovascular system.
It also makes uninterrupted sleep impossible for patient and bed partner, the article said.
In the study, scientists monitored the sleep of patients and their spouses simultaneously, measuring the number of disordered breathing episodes in the patient and the number of sleep interruptions of the partner.
They also checked the percentage of time each person spent sleeping.
"As we suspected, the spouses experienced significant improvements in sleep quality when their husbands were treated with the device," said John Shepard, medical director at the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center and senior author of the study.
"The average percentage of time that spouses spent sleeping increased from 74 percent to 87 percent, which adds more than an extra hour of sleep per night."
A previous study reported that about 44 percent of men and 28 percent of women have a snoring problem. Sleep apnea is much rarer, causing about 10 percent of snoring episodes.