Welcome to the Guinea Pig Diaries! We’re talking about sleep this month, or what gets in the way of it.
Do you know someone that snores?
“What’s that? Speak up, Dearie, I can hardly hear you over Henry’s abominable gurgles!“
I seem to be doomed to live with men who snore.
Growing up, my father could keep the whole upstairs awake! It didn’t matter my room was farthest away down the hall, with the door shut. He was loud and clear.
Haaaacgh Scheeeew Zzzzz Zzzzz
Short of smothering my head with a pillow, I had to get used to it. And my mother wonders why she found me asleep downstairs on the couch so much!
Now, it’s my boyfriend (who I love very dearly if you’re reading, Honey!). And instead of a pillow, it’s the TV on sleep mode. And an occasional elbow jab… 😀
What causes snoring?
I didn’t know this, but there’s a whole variety of reasons why people snore. When air is blocked in some fashion through your mouth or nose, it causes snoring. Reminds me of trying to sleep with a bad cold – the worst is when your nose whistles, isn’t it?!!
According to HelpGuide.com‘s collaboration with Harvard Health Publications, common causes of snoring include:
- Age. As you reach middle age and beyond, your throat becomes narrower, and the muscle tone in your throat decreases.
- The way you’re built. Men have narrower air passages than women and are more likely to snore. A narrow throat, a cleft palate, enlarged adenoids, and other physical attributes that contribute to snoring are often hereditary.
- Nasal and sinus problems. Blocked airways make inhalation difficult and create a vacuum in the throat, leading to snoring.
- Being overweight or out of shape. Fatty tissue and poor muscle tone contribute to snoring.
- Alcohol, smoking, and medications. Alcohol intake, smoking, and certain medications can increase muscle relaxation leading to more snoring.
- Sleep posture. Sleeping flat on your back causes the flesh of your throat to relax and block the airway.
Sleep and Relationships – Let’s Talk About
Sex Snoring, Baby!
Normally, when things get heated in the bedroom it’s a good thing! But what if your partner’s snoring (or your own) is putting your relationship on edge?
I SAID ROLL OVER OR I KEEP THE ARM!
Now, thankfully, Honeypot and I are not scouting out alternative spaces for another bedroom. (Because he knows he’ll get the smaller one! After all, I have more shoes.)
It is a real issue for many couples, and one that could escalate over time. Snoring can cause poor sleep for both the snorer and his/her partner. Lack of sleep can cause fatigue and irritability, and often we can take out our aggression on our partner. It’s all too easy to fight with our loved one rather than address the issue itself – the snoring.
So what if you’ve done everything you can think of – earplugs, noise machines, hundreds of dollars in various types of pillows?!
Be patient. While it is frustrating to wake up in the middle of the night from someone’s snoring, remember they’re not doing it on purpose!
Here’s some tips that HelpGuide.com’s site shared:
- Time your talk carefully. Avoid middle of the night or early morning discussions when you’re feeling exhausted.
- Keep in mind it’s not intentional. Although it’s easy to feel like a victim when you lose sleep, remember that your partner isn’t keeping you awake on purpose.
- Avoid lashing out. Sure, sleep deprivation is aggravating and can be damaging to your health, but try your best to approach the problem in a non-confrontational way.
- Beware of bitterness. Make sure that latching onto snoring is not an outlet for other hidden resentments you’re harboring.
- Use humor and playfulness to bring up the subject of snoring without hurting your partner’s feelings. Laughing about it can ease tension. Just make sure it doesn’t turn into too much teasing.
And for the snorer, use the same advice! Know that your partner is frustrated because they’re not sleeping well. Don’t be too hard on yourself because you’re NOT doing this on purpose, and know that you’re partner LOVES YOU, just not your snoring.
If you still both feel that you’ve tried everything and talked about it, yet you’re still both miserable, it may be time to seek professional help. Perhaps what you thought was common snoring, is really sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that requires medical attention.
So put down the bat! There’s no need for violence! If you’re still looking for helpful tips to prevent snoring try these bedtime remedies:
- Clear nasal passages. Having a stuffy nose makes inhalation difficult and creates a vacuum in your throat, which in turn leads to snoring. You can do it naturally with a Neti pot or try nasal decongestants or nasal strips to help you breathe more easily while sleeping.
- Keep bedroom air moist with a humidifier. Dry air can irritate membranes in the nose and throat.
- Reposition. Elevating your head four inches may ease breathing and encourage your tongue and jaw to move forward. There are specially designed pillows available to help prevent snoring by making sure your neck muscles are not crimped.
- Avoid caffeine and heavy meals within two hours of going to bed, especially dairy products and soymilk.
- Sleep on your side. Avoid sleeping on your back, as gravity makes it more likely for your tongue and soft tissues to drop and obstruct your airway.
Share your snoring! I mean STORY!
Do you live with a snorer? Are you a snorer? What helps you sleep better?
*All bulleted lists are tips from HelpGuide.com’s article How To Stop Snoring.