How I Got My Husband To Finally Stop Snoring
My husband is an intelligent, hilarious, thoughtful man...whom I used to loathe as soon as he fell asleep each night. Why? He’s prone to snoring—the tectonic sort of snoring that would make the walls rattle if we were cartoon characters. As we’re all too real, it made us miserable instead: I lost sleep, he’d end up sore from the little kicks I’d deliver as I tried to get him to roll over, and we both woke up feeling wronged and resentful.
It doesn’t take a scientist to tell you that snoring can wreak havoc on relationships, but research certainly backs it up: In a National Sleep Foundation poll, a whopping 50 percent of people who were at risk for sleep apnea (that is, they scored high on a questionnaire about snoring and daytime drowsiness) or who had a partner at risk for sleep apnea reported that it caused problems in their relationship. And 28 percent said that their intimate or sexual relationship had been affected because they were too sleepy. Dangers of sleep apnea aside, how does a couple keep their bond strong in the face of snoring?
Some people would argue that sleeping in separate beds has saved many a relationship; according to a 2014 poll by the statistical analysis site FiveThirtyEight, 13.9 percent of cohabiting couples sleep apart every night (and snoring is the culprit for almost half of those people). My husband tried evicting himself from the bedroom and getting shuteye on our living room couch on a couple of especially sleepless nights, but that was hardly a solution for us; he was uncomfortable, and my guilt about driving him out kept me awake anyway. So what if you’re not ready to give up your bedmate?
Shelby Harris, Psy.D, director of behavioral sleep medicine at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, works with patients who complain about their snoring partners. Here are the steps she says you should take if your guy's keeping you up at night.
When my guy did just that, his specialist instructed him to report for an in-lab overnight sleep study at a local clinic. He said afterward that it was like staying in a hotel room—a hotel room with occasional visits from lab techs, that is. We awaited his results, wondering if the sleep doc would recommend some gigantic, rattling device that would be just as awkward as the snoring itself (we’d traumatized ourselves with some late-night Googling). After analyzing my husband’s results—mild sleep apnea—his doctor recommended that he get...a mouth guard, basically. He prescribed a TAP (Thornton Oral Positioner), a customized, retainer-like device that holds his lower jaw forward to prevent airway obstruction when he’s asleep. It conjures up old memories of junior high, I’ll admit, but my husband reported that it was pretty comfortable after the first few nights of wear...and it stopped his snoring completely.
If you’ve spent quality time with someone who snores on a regular basis, you know that the only thing more disturbing than the noise they make is the noise they don’t make; I confess that on that first silent night I feared that he was dead (and I felt especially rotten for having kicked him in bed for all those years). No, he was just dozing soundlessly—and more peacefully, it turns out. His sleep is more restful now, too.
There’s no single “cure” for snoring; I’d never suggest that the device that worked like a charm for my partner will work for everyone. What I can promise, though, is that the solution for you and yours is worth the search. So get on it, would you?