How to Deal with Your Partner’s Snoring
The headline for Taiwanese host Xiao Xian may have stopped us in our tracks (though it turns out to be a sponsored post), but perhaps it’s a more common affliction than we realise. We all snore now and then, but for some it could be chronic. It could even be a sign of a serious health condition. People who have obstructive sleep apnea (when breathing is disrupted for short periods during sleep) might have increased risk of developing heart disease.
Not only that, sleeping with a snorer could affect your health. Secondhand snoring, where you listen to your partner snoring every night, can cause sleep deprivation. That could lead to memory problems and memory problems. Sleep deprivation also increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart diseases too.
Sleep loss could even shorten your life expectancy too. There’s a 2010 analysis of three large population-based studies showing that mortality risk increased by 15 percent among those that only slept for 5 hours or fewer each night.
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Try Sleeping Apart
Couples that sleep separately are far more common than many of us think. Sure, there’s an expectation that we share our bed with our significant other. But some couples in Singapore do sleep separately.
Sleeping apart can be unnerving, given all the stigma. There could also be a sense of loss and rejection when the other partner sleeps separately because there’s this expectation for closeness and intimacy in a relationship.
After all, love can’t conquer genetics because some characteristics of our sleep are genetically determined, and the habits we learned in our formative years. So everyone has different needs and expectations when it comes to sleep length, sleep timing, bedroom temperature, and sensitivity to noise and light.
So sleeping apart could be a compromise for couples. To make for it, you can still find ways to spend quality time together in other ways, perhaps through date nights and hobbies. Your sex life shouldn’t need to suffer just because you’re sleeping apart from your partner.
Get Ear Plugs
This is probably the easiest and fastest solution. Earplugs can muffle, or even eliminate your partner’s snoring, depending on what you need (and how loud your partner is when they’re sawing wood).
There are inexpensive soft foam earplugs that you can easily find at the drugstore. Otherwise, there are silicone noise-reducing earplugs that are actually designed for use in noisy environments, such as the airport or construction sites. It can get a little hot, but some people swear by noise-cancelling headphones as well.
Try Listening to White Noise
If you’re less sensitive to sound when you sleep (lucky you!), this could be it. White noise is a steady, consistent noise that soothes you, and for some, it can help lull you to sleep. Think of ocean waves crashing into the shore or the sound of rainforest in the night.
You could get a proper white noise machine, where its specifically designed to create white noise. Otherwise, there are apps for white noise and meditations too. And then all you’d need is a decent Bluetooth speaker or headphones.
Change Your Partner’s Sleeping Position
Some research has shown that sleeping on one’s back could make snoring worse. While elbowing your partner in the ribs to get them to sleep on their stomachs might work, there are other less, shall we say, violent ways to get them to switch positions.
You could try positional therapy (PT), where the treatment options are designed to help snorers avoid lying on their backs. Here are some of the options:
- Snore-reducing trainers: It’s basically a padded weight belt that your partner can sleep in. With the padded weight, your partner might tend to roll over onto their side, thus becoming less likely to snore.
- Head-positioning pillow: Also called an anti-snore pillow, helps to properly align the user’s neck so they’re less likely to snore. There’s a 2015 study that seems to suggest that your partner might get a better night’s sleep with one too.
- A tennis ball: This is the cheapest option: you just slip a tennis ball or any other smooth object underneath your partner’s back. That way, when your partner is lying on their back as they sleep, it’ll get uncomfortable for them and they might just roll on their side.
Encourage Your Partner to Visit a Sleep Clinic
If your partner gets defensive or frustrated, it helps to be clear and express your concern. You could go with them to the doctor’s if they don’t want to go alone.
You can get your partner in a sleep study through a sleep clinic. Sleep studies determine the level of snoring and assess the causes behind the snoring. That way, you can find the different treatments available too. Here are the kinds of sleep studies out there:
- bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) therapy
- continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy
- an oral appliance, similar to a mouthguard, which positions the jaw or holds the tongue in place
- there are surgeries too if the other therapies don’t work
While it’s often assumed that only men snore, there is evidence that women tend to underestimate and underreport their snoring tendencies. Women are also less likely to visit a sleep clinic to be evaluated.
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