Sleeping Through the Snoring

Here’s another question people ask when they hear that we spent almost all of our 79 Camino nights in shared rooms, sometimes with as many as 50 other people.

What do you do about the snoring?

I could make a joke here about how most of us who are married are used to sleeping a foot away from sonorous breathing, and a bunk bed actually moves it farther away, but that doesn’t really answer the question.

The answer is that you just live with it. Some lighter sleepers used ear plugs. Most of us found that we were so tired at the end of a day (and that’s 9 or 10 o’clock, by the way; no late-night partying here) that we could sleep through almost anything.

Here’s the thing. If you’re going to walk any portion of the Camino and plan to stay in albergues/gites/refugios, you will be sleeping in rooms with other people. I guarantee that someone is going to be making noises in the middle of the night. Often it’s multiple someones, in an asynchronous chorus coming from every direction.

That’s just part of the experience.

Most pilgrims are well north of our 30th (or 50th) years. We’re not kids in summer camp anymore. We ALL snore at some point. After one too many glasses of wine, or when the allergies set in, or when we sleep in certain positions, or when we hit a certain stage of deep sleep.

You are going to snore, too, and other people will hear you.

close quarters
Sleeping in close quarters in Villacaval

Somewhere in Spain, I was talking about this with a woman I’d met a few times on the trail, but had never shared a room with. She was complaining about the snoring that had kept her awake the night before.

Just to be clear: she was complaining a LOT.

To try to neutralize her, I made my “everyone snores” argument.

“Not me,” she said. “I never snore.”

“Well…” This came from another pilgrim in earshot—a sweet, generous, always positive person who’d been traveling and staying with this woman for many days. “Actually, you do. Most nights, in fact, after you’ve been asleep for a while.”

The woman was aghast and defensive, but it was hard to dispute the testimony. She changed the subject shortly after.

So, future pilgrims, if you’re light sleepers, pack some good, reliable ear plugs. Or choose to stay in private accommodations, of which there are plenty. Then the only noise you’ll hear in the night is yourself. But think twice before you start complaining too much…somewhere on the trail, someone is complaining about you, too.

Also, if you’re worried about snoring, remember it could be (and might be) worse. My most uncomfortable night was spent two feet away from a man who not only snored, but he talked AND SANG in his sleep. Seriously. I think it was opera, but just a bar or two at a time. He’s the only person on the whole Camino who, after that one night, I would see entering an albergue and change my plans. I’d learned the hard way I can sleep through anything except an aria.

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