Paddling about the Internet looking for possible interpretations of a dream involving burnt saucepans, I came across a listicle of “interesting facts you never knew about dreams”. Listicle item no 6: you can’t snore and dream at the same time.
As the bedmate of a snorer who never remembers his dreams, I found this intriguing, and I hared off on a tangent to investigate it. Tangenting: an occupational hazard of interneting.*
The ‘can’t sleep and snore at the same time’ claim appears to be a factoid: something that looks like a fact but isn’t. I couldn’t find any supporting evidence on any of the pages that cited it or on any other page readily accessible during an intensive research session (yes, okay, a 30 minute Google search).
I learned a lot about snoring I never knew before.
I did find one page (http://www.britishsnoring.co.uk) that suggests conventional snoring (rhythmic noisy breathing) is least likely to occur during REM sleep, when breathing is at its shallowest. This lends possible support to our factoid: if we generally don’t snore in REM sleep, then snoring and dreaming won’t usually occur together.
However, the same page also says that sleep apnoea (the cessation of breathing followed by a loud snort when breathing recommences) is most likely to occur during REM sleep. The page doesn’t address the question of dreaming, but does make the point that snoring is a respiratory issue, and that sleeping merely highlights the problem. This was confirmed by other online respiratory and sleep information sources. It seems unlikely, therefore, that snoring and dreaming are directly related.
So, is this another case of something being wrong on the Internet? Quite likely, but further investigation (i.e. more than a 30 minute Google search) is needed. As with most things, the truth of the matter is probably rather more nuanced than we think.
Now, back to burnt saucepans.
* If the young ones are allowed to verb, so am I