I love my husband so much…until he falls asleep. Once that happens a whole team of lumberjacks invades the bedroom to saw logs in my ears.
At least that’s what it feels like.
And it’s tough to NOT put random things in his mouth for some peace and quiet.
I really need some help. Is there any way you can possibly do some crowdsourcing on your Instagram (@ChezChaya) for me?
I can’t possibly be alone in this.
Please, Girl, ask your Instagram family for some solutions for all of us women who are tossing and turning all hours of the night, resisting the urge to commit a midnight felony.
Where are the Cotton Balls?
First: I actually wrote this article BEFORE I got married. I happened to marry a guy who sleeps like a log at night rather than saws them.
But I still got you – we’ll get this figured out!
Few things induce serious rage, but a snoring partner is one of them. Something about the incessant cacophony of someone peacefully sleeping while keeping you awake can make you violently frustrated.
It may or may not make you want to take that monogrammed hotel linen pillow that sparked joy mere hours ago and smother him with it.
Not only do you spend a sleepless night, but you feel the after-effects the whole day, only to experience it again once the sun goes down. It’s a bad cycle.
And the relationship strain? Don’t get me started. Clearly, your spouse isn’t trying to deprive you of sleep or make you upset, but boy is that hard to remember at two am! I feel my blood pressure rising a little bit on your behalf.
I would like to personally offer you my congratulations on your patience. Being able to plot revenge on your favorite Snorer, without actually carrying out said revenge, is a case study in restraint.
But let me tell you, you’re far from the only spouse dealing with this. Believe it or not, you are NOT the first person who has asked my advice on this topic! I know it sounds crazy (or maybe not, since you also asked!) but a couple of people have reached out to me on this before.
Although recipes, inspiration, and home décor are more my forte, I love tackling questions like these, too!
I did take to my Instagram to brainstorm some ideas, and I have a few of my own. I’ve consolidated the best ones here.
That’s one of the reasons I’m so grateful to have launched this blog. It’s fun to have a space where we can all chat and come up with solutions to life’s problems!
So let’s discuss this. Let’s get down to the details and figure out:
1) What exactly snoring is
2) What causes it and
3) What the heck can we do about it?
WHAT. IS. IT.
So we know it’s maddening.
But what in the world IS IT?
What happens to create this horrid cacophony emanating from your loved one’s FACE?
Okay, I’m being dramatic but if you’re wide awake at night because of snoring, then you get it.
According to our friends at the Mayo Clinic, we can blame the tissue in our throats. They relax when we’re asleep, which narrows the airway, causing the breath to more forcefully push through.
When it passes across those relaxed tissues, they vibrate, treating us to a symphony of sleeplessness.
Now you might be like, but CHAYA, I don’t snore. Why does my partner?
I didn’t know, but the Mayo Clinic does!
What Causes It?
There are several things that can contribute to your partner’s snoring (great news, right)? Here are the most likely offenders:
- Sleep. Apnea. This one is serious you guys, and FAR out of my area of expertise. This is a sleep disorder where you stop/start breathing repeatedly throughout the night. It could be dangerous. If your partner is a loud snorer and still worn out after sleeping all night, Spoiler Alert: SEE. A. DOCTOR. It could be sleep apnea.
- FYI – but this can run in the family. So if your partner’s family has a history of snoring or OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea), definitely get this checked out!
- Men are more prone than women to snoring.
- Being overweight.
- Extra weight on your neck can compress the airway
- Extra weight on the chest and midriff can also contribute. Men tend to gain weight in the chest, neck, and stomach areas. This can cause more airway compression, making them more likely to snore. (Women tend to gain weight on the lower part of the body. However, being overweight can cause snoring no matter the gender.)
- Nasal congestion.
- Your spouse may be doing things unknowingly to cause these throat tissues to relax further during sleep:
- Alcohol consumption encourages throat tissue relaxation.
- Certain medications can as well.
- Sleep position. People are more likely to snore when sleeping on their backs since gravity pulls on those throat tissues.
- Just…the way their mouth is.
- Lower/thicker muscles in the roof of the mouth (soft palate), are more likely to constrict airflow.
- Having a longer uvula. (This is the first I’ve heard of a uvula, which is apparently tissue that hangs from your soft palate, and frankly disturbs me a bit to think about).
- They have large adenoids and/or tonsils (congrats to them lol).
Before we move on, a Final Public Service Announcement about sleep apnea. If you or your spouse stops breathing while asleep? Go see a doctor, okay? That’s serious business and this post, while helpful, is not medical advice.
Let me also say that you may need to use more than one of these solutions or play around with several for a while to see what works. I would love to tell you, “Solution X will solve all your problems,” but then I would be independently wealthy on a beach somewhere.
Anywho, let’s get to some solutions, shall we?
I actually posted some things about this a while ago, so some are rehashes. But some are not, so let’s get to it.
Possible Solution One: “Simple” Fixes.
You might be able to figure this out pretty quickly. There are a few very effective and small changes that could make a huge difference. I call these “simple” fixes because they don’t require a significant change or the use of a “device” (we’ll get to those).
- Avoiding alcohol or certain medications at night. This will ease some of that throat muscle relaxation.
- Having your spouse sleep on his/her side. That helps offset some of the effects of gravity.
- Consider an Air Purifier.
Irritants, pollutants, and allergens can cause inflammation and discomfort, which does a snorer (and their spouse!) no favors. This could be a good option for those who have pets, allergies, are or live with smokers, or live in an area with pollution.
- Invest in a humidifier. (I like this one.)
Dry air is the WORST and of course, it exacerbates snoring. If you’re a mouth breather, use air conditioning, or live in a dry area, this could help a lot. This could also be of assistance with certain medical conditions, such as being pregnant, frequent sinus issues, or if using a CPAP machine dries out your throat.
If any of these solutions worked, great!
If not, let’s keep going!
Possible Solution Two: Featuring Some Stuff on Amazon that Helps.
Amazon Devices. Okay not the most attractive, but we’re not trying to win pageants here, we’re just trying to sleep. Based on the reviews, these are definitely worth a shot
- Nasal Dilators. This sounds a little bit scary, but I promise it’s not – just fancy pants terminology for nasal strips and vents. I like these because they’re not medicine, so there are no side effects. They also work INSTANTLY, and they’re cheap! Here are a couple of options:
- Snore Care Nose Vents – When you snore, your nostrils become more narrow. These fit inside your nose to keep your nostrils open, facilitating better airflow and no snoring. These have nearly 15,000 ratings, so why not? I know it may seem a little daunting to wear these all night, but I think it’s worth a try.
- Nasal Strips. While vents fit inside your nose, strips are external, applied to the bridge of your nose, and “lift” your nose up, opening your airways.
- Sleep Strips – This is MOUTH TAPE. It holds your mouth closed to encourage nose breathing and is non-invasive. I didn’t know it was a thing at first and I gotta be honest – I LOL’d when I saw these. But lack of sleep is no laughing matter and it’ll be dark anyway so…
- Wax earplugs. These are for the sleepless spouse! These babies say “wax,” but think more of a silicone/gel material. They naturally adjust to any ear canal and work well for side sleepers. They won’t put pressure on your ear canal, and they won’t fall out. They’re also waterproof, which I can’t imagine you’ll need at night but can be used when swimming!
- Squishy earplugs. Also for the non-snorer to get some rest! These are made of “Cushy Comfort Foam” (the best kind in my opinion LOL). They’re really comfortable and sport a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 33 decibels. I use these as I’m a light sleeper, and they have significantly improved my quality of sleep.
- ANTI-SNORING PILLOWS. What? Yes! There are several that are designed just for snorers:
- Foam wedge pillows. If side-sleeping is a no-go, one of these pillows will elevate the head, which may help significantly.
- This pillow is adjustable! You can add/reduce the fill to put your head at the right angle! This pillow works for all snorers – side, back, and stomach sleepers! I also love that this pillow happens to be vegan, cruelty-free, and hypo-allergenic. Heck. Get one for yourself, too! You deserve some rest!
- Or…..the Smart Nora. (Not from Amazon). This thing is genius. It’s basically an “expander” you place under your pillow and it will expand when your partner snores, shifting his/her head to keep the airways open and eliminate snoring. How does it work? Voodoo? Fairy dust? Does it matter?
Possible Solution Three: Separate Bedrooms
Hear me out: this may not be the solution for you. But then again, maybe it is!
This is, without a doubt, the number one response that I got from my Instagram Fam. Separate bedrooms are literally saving people’s marriages. I was astounded by the number of responses that said there is no shame in separate bedrooms.
And you know what? They’re right!
One insightful Reader shared the following: “We love each other. We hang out, we chat, we watch movies, we cuddle… but when it comes to lights out, we have separate bedrooms. Our marriage has improved significantly! We now both get a good night’s sleep and there are no vicious eye daggers or resentment in the morning.”
Another Reader agreed: “No more punching each other in the night, no more pillow-shoving. No more sighing loudly, [no] more twisting and turning. It’s a joy to wake up well-rested!”
So YES, this could be a viable solution for you. I know many people think that sleeping in the same bed/bedroom helps keep marriages strong. And I would agree – in the cases where you’re not spending hours sleepless and angry, only to be majorly grumpy in the morning.
The point of being married is to be together but come on: you guys are unconscious at this time (well, ONE of you is!), so I struggle to call it quality time, especially considering the circumstances.
But Chaya, you protest, it’s not the norm!
To which I say, that’s okay! What is “normal” anyway? Is it the norm to be sleep-deprived and resentful of someone you love? I don’t think so. And if it is, I will happily pass on that “normal” thing!
You know what I say: YOU DO YOU! If it works, that’s all that matters!
Create your own norm! Spend your evenings together, cuddle, do romantic things, and have fun. Then, get a good night’s sleep…in your own rooms.
Possible Solution Four: The Heavy Hitters
Sometimes the tips above just don’t work for us. If this is the case, you may need some medical intervention. Visit your healthcare providers for some additional options:
- Visit the Dentist for Custom Snore Guards. This is a thing! Do a sleep study first, then see if the dentist can make you a special device to help reduce your snoring. My father, @robertlichtdds Robert Lichtenstein DDS (212-682-7200), makes many of these, and they can make a big difference. If the “simpler” solutions wind up not working for you, and you want to sleep next to your spouse at night, then this might be an option for you!
- CPAP machine. I briefly mentioned sleep apnea previously, and I want to again reiterate the importance of talking to your doctor. It means you’re Not. Breathing. That’s serious. If you have apnea, you may need a CPAP machine (this is basically a machine that helps keep your airway open while you sleep) to help you breathe.
But again, I am no doctor, so go visit one if you need to!
I really hope this is helpful. Sleep is a critical human need.
Without it? Boy, do we turn psycho.
And trying to get some sleep while your spouse is snoring in your face? It’s kind of like salt in the wound. It can go from annoying to rage-inducing pretty quickly. And we don’t want to feel like that toward anyone, especially not our life partner!
Snoring is complicated; remedying it will most likely involve a combination of anti-snoring remedies and positive lifestyle changes.
But fortunately, there are solutions available. There are ways to ensure both of you are getting the rest you need.
Play with these suggestions to see which ones help. And please, don’t forget about what I said about the doctor – go if you need to!
Readers – what say you? Share what’s worked for you below!