Snoring is a cruel affliction. For the perpetrator it could be a symptom of a major medical problem. For the sleep partner — an innocent victim! — it can be akin to torture. The worst part is that the one who has to listen to the snorer can develop intense resentment and anger that he or she is impotent to express or act upon. After all, the snorer isn't intentionally snoring. So the resentment builds and the snoring roars along.
What are the options for couples trapped in the nightmare that is snoring? For those with the space, splitting up into separate sleeping quarters is one obvious — but often highly undesirable — solution.
Full disclosure: I snore. Loudly. There, I said it. I am not remotely overweight. I am not male. I exercise. I don't sleep on my back. And I snore. A sleep specialist ruled out sleep apnea (a common but serious disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep). An allergist blamed my cats and prescribed a steroidal nasal spray, which has helped a little but not enough. Next up I will consult an ear nose and throat doctor (ENT) to see if I have anything structural in my nasal passages, palate or throat that is causing my snoring. But in the meantime, I couldn't resist trying the Sona pillow, which has been approved with 510K medical device status by the FDA. This week is my trial week. After about 20 minutes of wrangling the thing into the correct position I was able to sleep with this pillow and my snoring was somewhat reduced. But I will withhold judgment until the week's end.
What are the options for those of us who are tormenting our loved ones with our snoring?
1. Lose weight.
2. Avoid large meals at bed time.
3. Avoid alcohol.
4. Stop smoking.
5. Sleep on your side, not your back.
6. Get evaluated for sleep apnea, which has serious medical consequences and should be treated.
7. Talk to an allergist about nasal spray or allergy medications that may help clear your nasal passages. According to WebMD, sometimes snoring is caused by swelling of the lining of your nose, so steroidal nasal spray may help improve airflow in the nose.
8. Try an ergonomic pillow to position your head and neck for optimal breathing alignment.
9. Consider devices such as nose strips or oral appliances and mouthpieces designed to keep your airways open. But Peter Michaelson, MD, an ENT surgeon told WebMD that these products aren’t likely to help most snorers, because "about 80% of snoring comes from soft palate at the back of the mouth" not from blocked noses. Moreover, he says the consumer "doesn't always know where their snoring is coming from."
Some of these devices include:
A) Nozovent Anti-Snore , which is like a stent for your nasal passages, opening them up to aid in breathing, $9.
B) Snorepin, $23.65.
C) Nasal dilator strips such as Breathe-Right Strips, $12.73.
10. If sleep apnea has been ruled out and none of the above solutions are working, your sleeping partner could try earplugs, headphones, or a white noise machine to drown out the noise.
What do you do to control your snoring or the snoring of the person you sleep with? What has worked? What has not worked?