Thinking back to my wedding day, almost 40 years ago, I remember my eternal vows to love and cherish “for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, and through sickness and health.” I don’t remember any mention of snoring.
Sleep deprivation is a serious side effect of a mate’s deafening snoring. Besides being a form of torture, sleep deprivation can result in a multitude of health issues such as: an elevated risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, problems with concentration, weight gain, hypertension, depression, irritability, and poor judgment. Could that explain your recent desire to lunge across the mattress and strangle your mate?
Rest assured, there are other ways to stop the snoring. Though murder may seem like the quick solution when you’re in a state of irritability, hypertension and exercising poor judgment, I beg you to try some of my own personal attempts to stop the nocturnal torture. It might just keep you off death row – where there are probably other scarier sounds to keep you awake at night.
I’ve compiled ten steps to stop the snoring. I hope you find them helpful.
- First, try calmly talking to your mate about the problem. It helps to make a batch of martinis before the conversation. Start with some small talk and tiny kisses to let them know you love them (even though you’ve imagined strangling them in their sleep the night before), and then say something like, “I know I’ve been a little edgy lately, but I’m having trouble sleeping at night.” Seductively place the martini olive between your lips and take a tiny nibble. Take care at this point not to let the martinis go to your heads. Keep your clothes on and stay focused! Lack of sleep over the past month will work against you and you will find yourself fighting to remain alert and concentrate on the problem you set out to discuss – your mate’s snoring. Be forgiving, and remember that snoring is not done intentionally. In all honesty, Step 1 is really a waste of time, except to enjoy some martinis and whatever else may follow.
- The cough, the sneeze and the sigh. If you’ve had your discussion and your mate is still snoring at night (he/she will be), try coughing, sneezing or sighing loudly between snores. If they are a light sleeper, this may be all you need to do to awaken them. Once awake, ask them to roll over. Sometimes a snorer will snore on one side and not on the other. And sometimes you’re out of luck and have to move on to step 3.
- Rustle the covers. You can also fan the covers, yank the covers, or flip the covers off the bed. This disturbance will sometimes awaken the snorer and stop their music for a few minutes – hopefully enough time for you to fall asleep.
- The bounce. If you are lying on your back, staring at the ceiling and counting sheep jumping over a fence, hoping this will block out the ear-splitting sound of your partner’s snoring, try the following movement instead. In your mind’s eye picture yourself leaping with the sheep. Lift your legs up high and then drop them down hard, lifting your butt off the mattress, and bounce. If this is too much effort, you can simply roll over and bounce a few times, causing the other side of the mattress – where your snorer is lying – to buckle and bounce in sync. Again, the objective is to gently, and unintentionally,awaken your mate so they stop snoring long enough for you to fall asleep.
- The cough, the rustle and the bounce. Step five is a transition step and the last effort before things get more physical. It involves employing steps 2, 3 and 4 simultaneously and with wild abandon. Cough-Rustle-Bounce, repeat.
- The nudge, the kick or the slap. Sorry folks, but lack of sleep brings people to irritable insanity. My husband actually gave me permission to go ahead with step 6. “Why don’t you just nudge me when I’m snoring?” he said. I tried to nudge him with my leg the following night but he didn’t budge, so I flicked my leg and kicked hard. Sometimes, if he’s balled up on the opposite edge of the mattress, I can’t reach him with a kick, so I’ll lie on my back and stretch my arms up and out in a sweeping circle arc and “accidentally” slap some other part of his body as my arms come down hard for a landing.
- The fart. This is something I learned serendipitously one night after serving baked beans for dinner. One of my less flattering traits is that I produce more gas in my intestinal tract than most people do. On one particular evening when the snoring was deafening, I felt a cluster of bubbles rumbling through my GI tract. In my sleepless state of hypertension, irritability and poor judgment, I thought to myself, “Why hold back?” It is cruel, but sometimes necessary, to use all the tricks in your bag. A few moments after I released the noxious gas, the snoring stopped, my husband awoke and began coughing and fanning the covers. I feigned my sleepy voice and asked, “What’s the matter? Was I snoring?” It was a small victory for my side.
- Leaving the nuptial bed. One night, I had no patience for steps 2-6 and I wasn’t feeling particularly gassy, so I simply got up and went downstairs to fall asleep on the recliner in the TV room. At 3:30 AM I awoke with a stiff back and drool dripping down my chin so I returned to the cold sheets, and miraculously, the snoring had stopped. Unfortunately, the sheets were so cold that by the time I fell asleep, my alarm went off.
- Leaving the nuptial bed and making some noise of my own. I’m approaching the end of the line now and sometimes steps 1-8 are ineffective and don’t give me the results I want, so I have to behave like a child and go around banging things. I start by banging the bedroom door as I stomp out. I’ll noisily empty the dishwasher or start a load of wash in the middle of the night. You can also run the vacuum cleaner, though I haven’t tried that yet. This physical outlet is healthy and actually prevents me from banging things over my husband’s head. If you have a weed whacker or a leaf blower in the garage, you might consider starting them up to do some dusting around the house.
- The scream. The other night I had a nightmare and was screaming in my sleep. This woke my snoring husband who nudged me to awaken me from my dream. Afterwards, I couldn’t fall asleep, so I lay awake listening to my husband nod off again, his gentle snore growing into a quiet rumble and progressing into air sucking and snorting. For once I didn’t mind the noise because my nightmare had been so frightening, and I found comfort knowing he was sleeping there beside me. While I was lying there staring at the ceiling, I came up with a thought…Why don’t I skip steps 1-9 when the snoring gets bad and go directly to step 10 and scream? Heaven knows, that’s what I feel like doing anyway.
In the summer, when the windows are wide open, the neighbors will hear me screaming. If they peer into our bedroom window with their binoculars, they will see the blankets flapping, the mattress bouncing, my legs kicking and my arms flailing about, and they’ll think we’re pretty wild in bed together for people our age. Won’t they be envious!