Do you share a bed with a spouse who snores? If so, you may be all too aware of the cycles of anger, frustration, exhaustion and relationship discord that have roots in these situations. Read on for tips to help manage the stress of life with a snorer, courtesy of Michael J. Breus, a Los Angeles-based clinical psychologist, sleep specialist, and author of “The Power of When.”
FOCUS ON THE PHYSICAL
“Snoring is an anatomical and physical issue, not an emotional one,” says Breus. Couples can keep anger and resentment at bay by keeping the conversation in the physical realm. This includes making the nonsnoring spouse’s sleep quality a priority. “If you’re not sleeping well, you’re not thinking straight,” Breus says, which can compound the negative emotions that can arise when snoring is a nightly disturbance. Focusing on the physical and logistical aspects of snoring keeps the nonsnoring partner from taking the behavior personally, and stops the snoring partner from feeling that their night noises are a personal failure.
DON’T FEAR THE GUEST ROOM – BUT LEARN HOW YOUR BED COULD HELP
Sending one partner – preferably the snorer – to a spare room shouldn’t be a stigma, says Breus. In fact, he calls occasional or even regular relocation “an enhancer” for many couples because it allows each partner to arrange the blankets, noise level and sleep position to best fit their comfort level, which is a recipe for better rest for everyone. But – you also don’t have to settle for this solution either. Couples can sleep together with snoring solutions built into Sleep Number beds.
DECONGEST FOR BETTER REST
Offering your partner options for quieting nightly snoring can help the nonsnoring spouse feel empowered and solution-focused. Breus’ recommendations:
Use a saline nasal spray or neti pot before bed to clear nasal passages.
Avoid alcohol, which inflames mucous membranes, for two hours before bedtime.
Place an air filter in the bedroom to pull dust or other allergens out of the air – even if your partner isn’t aware of any allergies
Sleep with an external nasal strip or internal nasal dilator, available over the counter at drugstores, to help keep nasal passages open throughout the night.
Build a “pillow wall” between you to absorb some of the sound.
CONSULT AN EXPERT
If snoring is an ongoing problem, Breus recommends asking your primary care physician for a referral to a sleep specialist, who will conduct a sleep study to learn if a potentially serious condition like sleep apnea is the cause of the snoring. If the snoring partner is often tired during the day, or if brief pauses in breathing can be heard at night, apnea could be likely and requires prompt treatment.
LOOK TO THE MATTRESS
Anything that constricts the nasal passages causes snoring because it causes air to move too quickly through the nasal cavity. Even a slight shift in head and neck positioning can reorient a person enough to quiet snoring. A mattress like the Sleep Number 360 smart bed features different settings for each sleeper, and its Partner Snore technology gently raises each person’s head so to help alleviate snoring. The Sleep Number bed also contours to you, adjusts on both sides, is clinically proven to relieve back pain and improve sleep quality,it is highly recommended with 91% of bed owners saying they’d recommend it, it has a 25-year limited warranty, and it lasts twice as long as an innerspring mattress but costs about the same.