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.
Welcome to the Guinea Pig Diaries! Every month I’ll be covering a different topic, trying new things, experimenting! And this month, you can call me Rip Van Witkins as I tackle the study of SLEEP!
When I started perusing through the National Sleep Foundation‘s website I was amazed at how much they had on Women and Sleep. The average number of hours we’re supposed to sleep is between 7 and 9, however most women average just a little over 6.
And guess what ladies? Women are more likely to have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and experiencing daytime sleepiness than men.
Oh goody gumdrops! Now I know why I’m so plucky in the morning!
The causes for poor sleep can be any number of things: Insomnia, sleep apnea, pain from migraines and tension headaches, restless leg syndrome, shift work hours, and even nocturnal eating disorders.
It also doesn’t help that all women have one of these inside their heads…
Often times we think we can “cheat” sleep and function just fine, or catch up on all of our lost sleep over the weekend while getting precious little during the work week. Regular sleep is important because that’s where our bodies achieve homeostasis. During sleep, our breathing slows and our muscles relax. Increased blood flow to the muscles during this relaxation is what allows tissue growth and repair. We also release the cortisol hormone, whose job among other things, is to alleviate allergies, boost the metabolism, and help relieve pain so we can wake up energized.
Where is this cortisol you speak of? Give it to me!
Most of us know what an ideal sleep environment is supposed to be. Dark room, no cell phone or alarm clock lights facing the bed, noise should be at a minimum, the temperature on the cooler side. Blah, Blah, zzzzzzzz…
Whoops, dozed off for a minute there! What I was saying is that we know what we’re supposed to do to help us sleep, but not many of us take the time to actually assist ourselves in that process. Starting TODAY I invite you to join me and do a sleep study!
The sleep study month can be whatever you want it to be.
Make small changes or large ones, but get some SLEEP!
Here are some sleep tips to start with!
- Going to Bed 2 Hours Earlier on Weeknights – I’m typically up until midnight or later every night. Going to bed by 10pm is going to be tricky, but by giving myself a bedtime, I plan my night differently. I get dinner, work on what I need to and then save my “wind down” activities like watching TV or reading for the end of the night.
- Create a Bedtime Routine – Along with having a set bedtime, the actions you do right before bed are just as important. Watching TV or playing games on your phone can be a fun way to unwind, but they decrease your melatonin making ability, a natural antioxidant in your body. I’ve always been a
germaphobeclean freak so my routine before bed involves my Clarisonic, flossing, mouthwash, moisturizer, vitamins, and chapstick! Might sound basic, but doing these repetitive behaviors sends my body the message that bedtime is soon.
- Get Plenty of Light During the Day – Just like plants, we need sunlight during the day and darkness at night. The daylight hours help keep you energized, and then you’re more likely to fall asleep while its dark. I’m going to try to take a short walk outside each day, sit by the window, and keep using the heat lamp in the bathroom!
- Don’t Be the Princess and the Pea – I suffer from spinal subluxation in my upper neck so the search for a pillow that’s comfortable is unending. I’ve tried memory foam and skipping the pillow altogether. What’s worked best for me is an orthopedic pillow that is scooped in the middle to cradle my head while keeping my neck aligned. If you suffer from neck or back pain, make sure you invest in the right pillow or mattress to get the best sleep possible. Studies show people who tested a mattress for 15 minutes before purchasing one were happiest with their decision.
- Make Bedtime Relaxing – Easier said than done, right? If you’re like me, the minute you lie still, everything you could have and should have done that day is going to flood your brain! Practice relaxation tips like deep breathing, tensing your muscles and relaxing them, and visualizing a peaceful place.
Are you in or are you out? Wanna get some more Zzz’s?
What keeps you awake at night? What helps you fall asleep? If it’s reading my posts, please keep the drool to a minimum.
Snoozes and Pillow Fluffs,