Good sleep is one of the most important aspects of healthy living. That is why it is called our beauty rest. But if we share our bed with someone who snores, getting enough quality sleep can be impossible. Before we let our partners snoring turn us into crazy people, here are some tips to help get to the root of the problem so hopefully you can both sleep better.
The first step is to communicate with your partner about his or her snoring in a compassionate, non-judgmental way. Your partners snoring is not a personal attack against you; it is a medical condition. So it is not helpful or appropriate for you to attack your partner for snoring, however sleep-deprived you may feel.
Talk with your partner about the snoring during the middle of the day when you are both the most likely to be patient and present, not right before bed or first thing in the morning. Together you can explore the possible causes and solutions. It might even become an opportunity to grow closer, if you can both approach it as a learning and healing opportunity and not a point of contention.
Find the Cause
The next step is to discover together what might be causing the snoring. If it is a recent development, it might be caused by changes in lifestyle habits. Dehydration, alcohol consumption, weight gain, allergies, colds, and other factors can cause snoring to begin in people who did not snore before.
In most cases, snoring is caused by an obstruction in the airway between the nose and the lungs. This can be from fatty deposits in the throat, swollen nasal tissue, a tongue that is too relaxed, a deviated septum or a large uvula.
Suggest a New Sleep Position
Sleeping on the back tends to inspire the most snoring. When people sleep on their backs their jaws may fall open, which causes the tongue to fall back into the throat and narrow the airway. Elevating the head with the pillows at an appropriate angle can help up to 30 percent of people who snore.
Another effective way to treat this type of snoring is by having your partner sleep on his or her side. Side sleeping is usually the most comfortable position for cuddling anyway, so having your spouse change sleep positions may encourage more intimacy.
Avoid the Nightcaps
Drinking alcohol before bed relaxes the throat and tongue even more and causes the airways to become even more constricted. It also contributes to dehydration and mucous production, and can contribute to obesity and other factors that play into snoring. Have your partner avoid alcohol for at least four hours before going to bed.
Help Him or Her Stop Smoking
Smoking inflames and irritates the nasal passages and breathing airways, making it much more likely that people will snore.
Encourage Your Spouse to Find a Healthy Weight
This is a particularly sensitive suggestion, but the most common cause of snoring is being overweight. People who are over a healthy weight usually have fat deposits in their necks, which make the throat tissue more likely to collapse and constrict the airways. Loosing even a few pounds can help reduce snoring in overweight people.
Choose the Right Kind of Help
Breathing strips can help, though they have only been proven effective in some instances. There are herbal and homeopathic remedies that have been effective for some people. Nasal sprays can be effective for a short time if the snoring is caused by a cold, but with prolonged use they can actually make the condition worse.
Be sure that your bedroom is a comfortable temperature and humidity level, a little cool and slightly moist tends to be the most conducive to snore-free sleeping. Sometimes earplugs and white noise machines can help drown out the snoring if it is only moderate and/or rhythmic.
Understand It Might Be a Health Risk
Sometimes snoring is a symptom of a serious health concern. People who snore have a much higher chance of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. If your spouses snoring is very loud and irregular with occasional snorts, gasping, or choking sounds he or she may have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can raise blood pressure and seriously stress the body, as well as cause fatigue.
Watch your partners breathing when he or she snores. If there is no chest movement, count the seconds if it is more than 10 seconds, and/or your partner wakes with a start, a gasp, or other loud sound, he or she should see a doctor about the possibility of having sleep apnea.
We all need good rest to function well and be healthy and happy. And we need loving relationships to add beauty and joy to our lives. If your partner snores the resultant sleep deprivation can be frustrating for both of you. And it may be a symptom of a more serious medical condition. But the best thing you can do is communicate with your spouse, and work together to find the cause and solution of the snoring.