Don't Just Lie There, Do Something About Your Snoring!

Add snoring to the list of things that get worse as you get older.

Just do what you can to keep the closeness of your intimate relationship from joining the "getting worse with age" parade because you're sawing away and your bed partner can't sleep.

Sleep deprived people are not good lovers.

Noisy breathing and those snorts may be a sign of sleep apnea,

Apnea is a sleep disorder in which the sufferer actually stops breathing for short periods and wakes up to get a breath, then falls back to sleep. It is a serious condition that can only be diagnosed by medical specialists, but the risks of not treating it can include high blood pressure, headache, depression, and auto accidents due to what they call micro-sleep during the day. Apparently you don't even know you've dozed and wakened.

As serious as its affects can be, sleep apnea is very treatable once the diagnosis is made, and getting uninterrupted sleep perhaps for the first time in years can make everything feel better.

A number of things have been touted as possibly eliminating or at least lessening snoring and sleep apnea

  • Sleeping on your side. Many people report that a body pillow helps them stay on their side after they fall asleep.
  • Sewing a tennis ball to the back of a t-shirt so that you have to sleep on your side. This one is a pain to set up and not that hard to learn how to avoid or ignore and still be on your back.
  • Nose clip that lightly pinches septum. You have to keep buying these as they don't last forever and what is billed as "lightly" may be too uncomfortable. They are reasonably cheap, small, and available. They are worth checking for yourself.
  • Adhesive, spring strips that hold nasal passages open. These definitely open up your nostrils for a more unobstructed air flow. Whether they eliminate snoring or not, depends on the source of your problem.
  • Throat sprays. I don't see these in drugstores anymore. They never worked for me, but they do seem to be very helpful for many people who gag when the dentist has her hands in their throat.
  • Medicines and/or herbs. Again, mixed reviews. If you find something that works for you, use it.
  • Pillows that facilitate side sleeping. Side sleeping can be very good and if a pillow can facilitate it, it's a easy solution.
  • Pillows that hold jaw in good airway opening position. Same a side-sleeping pillow comment.
  • Collars that hold jaw in good airway opening position
  • Surgery.  I have had this treatment myself. It helped a lot. I still have to sleep on my side to not breathe loudly, but it did correct snoring and had other positive effects. And, yes, the recovery is long and uncomfortable, but I have been glad I did it.
  • Surgical implants. Apparently even when these work, they can fall out over time and have to be replaced, and may not be covered by health insurance.
  • Jaw/throat/tongue exercises. There has been some evidence reported recently that the right exercises can be helpful.
  • Devices that deliver air through a mask into your nose at slightly elevated pressure. controlled positive air pressure (CPAP). These have a good track record, though it is not uncommon to hear people say that they couldn't or wouldn't use it over time.

Opinions on how well these things work seems to depend on whom you are talking with. There seem to be happy users for just about every approach and there are also people for whom it didn't work.

At this point, all I can say for sure is to start with the least expensive, least intrusive approach that seems the most doable to you and then work through the list until you find one that makes your bedroom a place in which two people can get a good night's sleep.

Even just working on it in good faith can have a very positive effect on your relationship.

And remember to check it out with your doctor since it may be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious, but treatable disorder.

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