When I picture myself sleeping, I look exactly like this in my brain:
I’m peaceful, serene, quiet, and ladylike — a slumbering princess.
But my bubble has been burst rather noisily lately. Ever since I was informed that my light, sometimes snoring has become loud, almost-every-time snoring. My husband gave me this news delicately — well, as delicately as someone I fondly call “Spock” can deliver bad news — but my kids readily confirmed his report.
And then it was further verified during a recent women’s retreat hotel stay, when I queried a roommate and she had to admit that my overnight growling had indeed reached her ears. *sigh*
So what’s a lady to do?
Indeed, plenty of couples deal with this very issue. While husbands are often accused of snoring like freight trains, plenty of wives engage in their own noise-making while they sleep. And that snoring can disrupt a spouse’s ability to get to sleep or remain asleep at night. Moreover, I suspect those rumbling sounds trumpeting through my nose at night don’t exactly scream, “Who’s your lover, baby!” It’s a wonder my husband still finds me sexy, when I snore like this Disney character instead:
I consulted the handy-dandy WebMD for information on what exactly causes snoring. Of course, the noise itself occurs when the flow of air through the mouth and nose are blocked in some way. But here are some reasons why that might happen:
- Obstructed nasal passages — which might occur only during allergy seasons or a sinus infection. Or it could result from a deviated septum or nasal polyp.
- Poor muscle tone — not your biceps, though. We’re talking too-relaxed throat and tongue, which can collapse into the airway. Besides deep sleep, alcohol, and sleeping pills, normal aging diminishes that muscle tone. (Oh joy.)
- Bulky throat tissue — which can be a problem for people who have large tonsils or adenoids, or those who are simply overweight.
- Long soft palate and/or uvula — who knew? The uvula is that dangling thing in the back of your throat, and apparently when it and your palate vibrate and bump against each other, the airway becomes obstructed.
If you know what’s causing your snoring, perhaps you can address it. For instance, if you’re carrying way too many extra pounds, losing some might open up your airways. If you have a nasal polyp, a doctor can likely address that issue and help you shrink it. If you’re drinking alcohol too close to bedtime, you can drink it earlier or set it aside altogether, for the sake of better sleep for you and your spouse.
A few issues, though, you may be stuck with, like aging. If you’ve found the Fountain of Youth, let me know, but I suspect we’re all simply stuck with getting older year by year by year. I love the wisdom that comes with my ever-increasing age, but not so much this snoring part. Also, when you have allergies or a sinus infection, it is what it is — annoying and temporary.
Although I do wonder if I have naturally poor muscle tone in my throat and tongue, are there exercises I can do? What would those look like? A-one and a-two and a-three…
Some people swear by sleeping with a mouth guard or nasal strips or with a certain type of pillow. Side sleeping is less likely to result in snoring, so some suggest taping tennis balls to the back of your jammies for a few nights to retrain yourself to sleep on your side.
Or you can go the more standard route of having your spouse shove you a few times in the middle of the night to turn you over and stop your snoring. That’s been my approach to silence Spock’s occasional snoring.
His approach with me? I guess we’re working on one. Because I’d honestly like to stop. I really don’t think that snoring like a saber-toothed tiger in my marriage bed does wonders for my sex appeal.
Thus I’m inviting your collective marital wisdom!
Have you struggled with one or both spouses snoring in your marriage? What steps have you taken to address it? What suggestions can you share with others who are trying to stop the snore fest and get their sexy back?