Six Ways to Get Better Sleep with Roommates

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation


The top tips for getting enough zzz’s when you live with someone else

Whether you’re sharing the same room in college or adjoining bedrooms in an apartment, living with others brings a host of challenges—such as arguing over whose turn it is to take out the trash or figuring out how to split the cost of groceries. And learning how to sleep while your roommate is up and about is no exception. After years of having your own bedroom, it can be frustrating to be kept awake by someone else, but there are ways to block out the noise and distractions to ensure that you get the shut-eye you need.

  1. Invest in Earphones. Avoid having to ask your roommate to turn down the music or the volume on his or her video games by making an earphone rule: If one person is in bed or winding down for the night, the other person has to use earphones.
  2. Stock Up on Earplugs. Even if your roommate turns his or her music off, you may still hear him walking around or reheating a slice of pizza in the microwave—especially if you’re a light sleeper. Sleeping with earplugs in can help cancel out this excess noise (the cheap, foam ones work well).
  3. Try a Sound Conditioner. While earphones and earplugs mask noise, a sound conditioner, also called a white noise machine, can help create a neutral environment, blocking out that unwanted computer key clacking, a roommate's snoring, or even external noises like that annoying bird that chirps at the crack of dawn. We love the Marpac Dohm, the official sound conditioner of the National Sleep Foundation.
  4. Consider a Sleep Mask. If your college roommate is up typing a paper while you’re trying to rest, a sleep mask can help block out the light from his or her desk and computer. Choose one made from memory foam, which will comfortably form to your face so that light doesn’t sneak in the sides.
  5. Use Silent Alarm Clocks. Ditch your loud, buzzing wake-up call and invest in a silent alarm clock instead, such as a wristband that vibrates when you need to wake up (many activity trackers and some watches also have this feature). Your roommate will thank you—especially if you have a bad snooze button habit!
  6. Communicate Well. The best way to make sure that you don’t run into any sleeping problems while living with a roommate is to talk things out before issues arise. Discuss what type of bedtime arrangement will help you sleep best, and make sure that you both know each other’s schedules so that your roomie doesn’t choose to practice his or her new guitar the night before your important, 8:00am biology exam. If you both make an effort, you’ll find that you can still score solid sleep.