- Gender and Relationships»
What Can You Do about Snoring?
You're keeping me awake
Yeah, it’s a problem.
Picture this: The woman or man that has agreed to sleep with you for the rest of your life has told you something that you’ve only suspected – you snore. Oh, and it’s not the “really cute, barely noticeable, little buzz that is usually made by baby chipmunks". It’s the horrible cross mutation of a broken chainsaw combined with a congested farm animal.
And it’s keeping your true love awake at night. She’s losing sleep.
My wife, who has for the last seventeen years, endured my ever-worsening snoring problem has told me that it is now out of control. It is now so bad that she can hear my snoring through a closed bedroom door through her partially closed office down the hall.
Without seeking a cure, there is nothing I can do about this. I can’t “will myself” to not snore. It happens whether I want it to or not. If I try to keep my mouth closed in my barely measured consciousness, it will eventually open by itself when lose it. The moment my mouth opens, I know that snoring happens.
And we who snore are all like that. We normally don’t hear it at all. Why? Because we sleep through it. The only instance that I found I snored was when it was so loud I actually woke myself up from the noise.
Yeah, it’s that bad.
You should know, though, there might be some things you can do about this. First, you should know what snoring is and then you should know what your options are.
Do you snore?
What Snoring Is
The first thing you should know about snoring is that it’s not a problem by itself. It’s the symptom of other problems. Everyone snores for different reasons. The way you cure snoring is linked to finding what’s causing it.
According to Scientific American (www.scientificamerican.com), snoring is “the sound produced by vibrating structures of the upper airways”. When we sleep, the muscle tone of our bodies decreases, making the air space size within your upper airway muscles smaller. This can cause turbulence within your nasal passage. It happens when these relaxed floppy tissues that line the upper airway vibrate too much.
Helpguide.org says that there are several possible causes for snoring. They could be one or a combination of the following:
- Age – As you reach middle age, your throat gets narrower. The muscle tone in your throat decreases. It gets more flaccid as we get older.
- Sinus Problems – Blocked sinuses can cause more turbulence within your nasal passages and cause snoring.
- Your Sex and Physical Attributes – Men are more likely to snore than women as they have a narrower air passage. There are a bunch of other physical attributes that can cause this… including heredity. A deviated septum is a possible cause for snoring.
- Your Weight and General Health – If you are overweight and out of shape, you have more fatty tissue and poor muscle tone which may lead to snoring.
- Alcohol, Smoking, and Other Medications – All of these can increase muscle relaxation when you sleep.
- How You Sleep – Sleeping on your back is more likely to cause snoring than sleeping on your side.
- Sleep Apnea – A true sleeping disorder that you should watch for where breathing is affected.
What You Shouldn't Do
This is a delicate situation.
One person is suffering from sleep deprivation. The other is feeling guilty about something he has very little control over. This needs to be dealt with in a cool and structured way and not by screaming at each other.
You don’t want to do the following:
- Fight about it – Tempers are high. People are tired. You have to keep patient. This won’t be an “overnight” fix.
- Sleep Alone – While this would seem to be a common sense thing. This would certainly be a strain on any relationship. Plus, you’re not working toward a cure.
- Work Alone to Resolve it – You want to avoid resentment. If one person has to wear plugs or do all of the research for a cure, they will resent the other for not doing anything. This is a team effort.
Remember, the snoring is not intentional. And for the snorer, it’s a little embarrassing.
What You Can Do
This is not an immediate fix. This may be trial and error. What you will definitely need is for your partner to start keeping a journal about your snoring cycle and what you ate and how you felt. If the snoring is due to sinus problems it could be seasonal. It could also be due to allergies or a cold.
So keeping track of how and when this happens is integral.
You may also wish to clear your nasal passages with decongestant or a neti pot (remember to read the instruction on them and use them properly).
Your first step is to try an over the counter cure. The Breathe Right Strips might just work. And sleeping with a humidifier might work to keep the air moist - which dry air has been known to cause snoring.
If you are overweight, you’re going to have to lose some pounds – if for any reason than to stop snoring. The exact number of pounds will need to be measured in your partner’s journal in addition to whether the weight loss is decreasing your snoring habit.
You should also try to avoid caffeine and heavy meals shortly before you go to bed.
If you smoke, quit. If you drink, cut down. If you have to take pain meds, talk to your doctor.
One way to stop snoring is to take up singing. No, I’m serious. The actual act of singing can tone up the flaccid nasal passages that are vibrating when you sleep. Plus, it’s an excuse to start singing your favorite Barry Manilow tunes (okay, sorry, that’s just too cruel).
Your partner should also note within her journal what position you’re sleeping in when you start to snore. If you sleep on your back, you have a greater chance of snoring. If you sleep on your side and you continue to snore, it may have nothing to do with your sleep position.
If all of these methods fail and you discover that you have a deviated septum you may have to have surgery. The results of this have been 50% to 100% effective. However, you should know that the recovery process has been reported as being quite painful.
If you are single, live alone, and have no plans of marriage, you may never have to worry about this issue for the rest of your life.
Snoring is a luxury for the lonely.
However, for those of us who actually share our bed with the person we treasure most in this life, we need to do something about our problem. The one thing that we also need to be aware of is that while we snore we’re not getting the full amount of rest we need.
This is a problem for those of us who need to be at peak performance during the day and have to do a lot of mental work. The tired feelings and the lapses in concentration can cost us in the long run. This can also lead to a dependence on caffeine and energy drinks to help us keep our edge.
Wouldn’t it be better if we could just get a thorough night’s sleep?
We should also be worried about the possibility of sleep apnea. This is actually a problem that could kill you. Sleep apnea is a problem where the body has abnormal pauses in breathing or has instances of very low breathing. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, you should see a doctor who will arrange for you to have a sleep study where you can be observed. Many of the treatments used for sleep apnea are the ones listed previously. Once again, surgery to cut out the excess tissue is an option.
Other than that life threatening problem and getting the most amount of rest you can, you should mainly be doing this for your loved one. Remember, he or she is the person who actually can’t rest because you have a problem.
Remember, you love this person. If you care anything for them, you should do everything possible to give them what they could easily get in your absence.