Categories: Sleep Disorders

The Secret Diary of a Snorer: It’s Toll on Relationships, The Science, and Treatments

My husband snores. It isn’t a cute little snuffle here and there or an occasional bad night. He snores like a buzz saw and it’s constant. It starts about five minutes after he falls asleep and, since he always falls asleep before I do, I’m left to lay there awake silently hating him. I stuff earplugs in my ears and crank up the white noise on my headphones but nothing works. I can still hear the roaring snores through noise cancellers and decibel deadeners, and it keeps me awake all night long. So, as a consequence, my husband and I sleep in separate rooms. In our case, it’s been fine. We’re still intimate and we still spend a lot of time together. It’s sad to say goodnight to him and know I won’t get to snuggle up. It’s lonely always sleeping by myself. But the snoring is just too intense for anything else to work.

The Solutions You Can’t Impose on a Partner

Science has given us several suggestions for treating snoring. These include: abstaining from alcohol, losing weight, and practicing good sleep hygiene (getting to bed at the same time every night.) These are all practical suggestions but they aren’t necessarily politically correct or realistic. I can’t demand that my husband lose weight or that he throw out his precious beer. It would put unnecessary strain on our relationship for me to dictate lifestyle changes in exchange for quieter nights. And there’s no guarantee it would work. My husband has a really hard time losing weight. He also has insomnia. These suggestions just aren’t practical in his case.

When He Gave Up Alcohol

My husband isn’t a jerk. He really wants us to sleep in the same bed too. So, he tried giving up alcohol and… nothing happened. His snoring stayed exactly the same. Unfortunately, for many people snoring is a natural state. It’s just a consequence of the physiology of the throat and soft palate.

A Better Mattress Helped, Polyester Implants Probably Would Too

We tried getting a more supportive talalay mattress and it did help. I think it was because my husband got more rest, so he didn’t sleep as hard (hard sleep is associated with more relaxation of the throat and increased snoring). Another option, if we get desperate, is a surgical procedure that inserts stiff polyester fibers into the throat to keep airways open at night. It seems a little extreme, since my husband doesn’t have sleep apnea and isn’t in any danger health-wise. In the meantime, I think we’ll just stick to our separate rooms.

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