Snoring partner keeping you awake? Leading sleep scientist explains what you should do

People regularly kept awake by a partner's snoring could strengthen their relationship by moving into a separate bed, according to a leading sleep scientist. 

Rather than a sign you're giving up, shifting to the spare room could mark the "beginning of a new relationship", said Russell Foster, a professor of circadian neuroscience at the University of Oxford.

Speaking on the science of good sleep at the Hay Festival, Prof Foster said he was often approached by people who say: "What can I do? Earplugs don't work".

"If it's just snoring, what do you do? Well, you sleep in another place. So many people say, 'I slept with my partner for 50 years, it's the end of our relationship'.

"No, it isn't. It's the beginning of a new relationship where both of you ideally would be happier, more responsive to each other, less impulsive, less irritable, so I don't think you should be afraid to sleep in an alternative sleeping space if you have one."

He warned it was important for snorers to rule out obstructive sleep apnoea as the cause, as it can pose a danger if left untreated.

He offered other tips for getting a good night's sleep, including getting natural light in the morning to regulate the body's circadian rhythm and be more alert during the day.

Prof Foster also criticised sleep apps, which he said could make people more anxious about sleep.

"Don't take sleep apps seriously. They are useless," he said.

"They're okay to tell you roughly when you went to sleep, if you woke up in the night and when you finally got up.

"But when they start saying, 'You had a good night's sleep, you got lots of REM sleep', it's just nonsense."