Save my marital bed from the plague of snoring?
December 22, 2012 2:05 PM   Subscribe

My husband snores incredibly loudly. It makes sleeping next to him very difficult. Are there any unconventional recommendations - i.e. beyond drugstore earplugs and a white noise machine - to tolerate it? This is starting to really fray our marriage.

The long version: we had a baby a year ago. As an exclusively breastfeeding mother, I began co-sleeping with the babe from early on, not so much out of ideological preference as an attempt to get sleep by any means necessary. My husband did not join us due to his snoring. Did I mention it's very loud?

Now it's a year later. The baby stays in the crib for half the night, sometimes longer if I let him fuss it out a bit. My husband and I are still not sharing a bed together. Frankly, I am dreading it, and the snoring is the only reason why. Before the baby, I slept well enough with my husband, but still required earplugs and a wall of white noise. Post-baby, I sleep super lightly - waking up hourly, even if I am by myself. I'm afraid it's going to be a disaster if I introduce his arrhythmic, spastic snoring into my current light-sleeping mix.

I am desperate for any ideas, save sleeping pills for myself (still breastfeeding and also sensitive to taking meds in general). Custom-fit earplugs? Those crazy $400 in-ear white noise plugs? He says he is depressed due in large part to my absence from our bed (we still have sex about once a week - sometimes less, sometimes more, so the bed-sharing closeness is a factor in and of itself... although I know he'd like to have sex more often). I am super freaked out about reverting to a chronic state of extreme sleep deprivation. Not to mention resentful that this is all on me - dealing with his snoring while managing to not go crazy from inability to sleep.
posted by sixtyten to Human Relations (60 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
If his snoring is that disruptive, he should be tested for sleep apnea or another physical cause like a deviated septum.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:07 PM on December 22, 2012 [26 favorites]

I'll also add that snoring is a really sensitive topic with him and he is reluctant to talk about it. If I bring it up he usually gets pretty upset. It was an issue in his first marriage, and the most I've gotten out of him on the topic is that he "has tried everything" and "doesn't want to wear one of those [CPAP] masks to bed".
posted by sixtyten at 2:09 PM on December 22, 2012

I would send him to his GP to look into what is causing the snoring and working from there. Snoring shouldn't be taken lightly and getting the cause treated could be life changing for the snorer & those close to the snorer.
posted by goshling at 2:10 PM on December 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you are the one caring for the baby at night, then white noise ear plugs, or ear plugs in general, probably aren't a great idea. How will you hear the baby when it cries?

Is your husband overweight? If so, did he snore before he was overweight?
posted by amro at 2:11 PM on December 22, 2012

Does he want to have a stroke? Because that's what happened to my friend when he didn't wear the CPAP mask. This is bigger than your inability to sleep.
posted by killy willy at 2:13 PM on December 22, 2012 [32 favorites]

Both my parents sleep with cpap machines and it has been life changing. If he has sleep apnea, the cpap will improve his quality of sleep as well as yours.
posted by amapolaroja at 2:13 PM on December 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

IANAD but I'm almost positive that your husband has sleep apnea. I had the exact same issue with Mrs Bluejaway; I was dreading bed time and spent more than a few nights on the couch. I did try expensive sound blocking earplugs along with a white noise app on my iPhone. It worked OK- but the earplugs started to hurt after a while.

I convinced my wife to get a sleep study, and she was diagnosed with sleep apnea, given a CPAP, and we've both slept happily ever after. On those rare nights when she can't use the machine, she wakes up much less refreshed. The diagnosis and the machine have changed our lives for the better.
posted by bluejayway at 2:14 PM on December 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Unfortunately I think he's going to have to get over his defensiveness and discuss this with you & perhaps a new doctor.
Your quality of sleep is more important than his pride.
posted by goshling at 2:15 PM on December 22, 2012 [11 favorites]

Well then you need to ask him which he would prefer: a CPAP machine and his wife, or no CPAP machine and no wife. It really sounds like this is a medical problem and it's going to have a medical solution.

If he knows he needs a CPAP machine and refuses it that's his right, but if you have a young child he needs to at least step up with a shitload of life and disability insurance because this is a serious health risk issue.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:17 PM on December 22, 2012 [25 favorites]

I had a husband like this, and he eventually got a CPAP - which doesn't have to be used all night, every night, but is used enough to be useful and stops the snoring.

It took awhile. It took reasoning - he would be absolutely PISSED if I had an issue that caused the same amount of disruption in his life as the snoring did in mine and I refused to deal with it out of laziness or selfishness. Then it took seriously waking him up every single time he snored and yelling at him for about a week, then it took some stern serious relationship talkings, but he got the point. To not take care of the issue is an incredibly selfish thing to do, and he's a dad now and can't be so selfish.
posted by kpht at 2:17 PM on December 22, 2012 [32 favorites]

If he is saying he doesn't want to wear a CPAP machine, it seems to me like he may have tried one, which suggests that he does have sleep apnea. There are very serious health consequences to letting sleep apnea go untreated: heart issues, stroke, etc. This should be taken even more seriously than you are -- and certainly more seriously than your husband seems to take it.
posted by driley at 2:18 PM on December 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Your husband needs to find a way to treat his depression and whatever psychological issues surrounding his snoring that does not involve threatening your mental and physical health. Disrupting your sleep is not an option. Period, full stop.

Also, have you tried sleep training/night weaning to keep your baby in the crib all night?
posted by yarly at 2:21 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

If the issue is that he found the CPAP mask uncomfortable, there are many different styles to choose from. Sometimes people have to try several before they find the one that is comfortable for them and their sleep style.

Echoing the others above, it is terribly selfish of him not to treat the problem he knows he has, since it is causing you distress and will likely affect his future medical care and life expectancy.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 2:23 PM on December 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Stand your ground, you will come to bed when he stops snoring and not before then. If he has been diagnosed with sleep apnoea then he has to wear the CPAP or you continue to sleep separately. If he hasn't been officially diagnosed, he must see his doctor about the problem and follow his doctor's advice/treatment.
posted by missmagenta at 2:29 PM on December 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

My dad has sleep apnea, and snores to shake the walls, and he just doesn't share a bed with mom any more unless he's using his CPAP. He slept on the couch for a year or so before he got a sleep study done, and then mostly used it, and then I moved out and now he sleeps in my old room most of the time - he doesn't like the CPAP and resists using it. I think he's being an idiot, but at least mom gets to sleep.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:40 PM on December 22, 2012

I inherited my ability to snore from my dad. I can shake the rafters. Mrs. Plinth nudged and cajoled. Here's the right thing to do: book an appointment with an ENT. She will book a sleep study. He'll go and get it done and then he'll meet with the ENT to discuss options. There are more options than cpap, and he should discuss what's best for his circumstances. For example, my daughter also has somewhat, but in her case, taking out her tonsils fixed it (not likely an issue with your husband, but that's why he should see an ENT).

I ended up with a cpap. It works. I don't care for it, but using it helps. Using it for a while trains my body to snore less, so I can take a break from it.

The math can be convincing. Let's say that either of you is losing an hour of quality sleep a night. In the span of a week, you've lost nearly an entire night.
posted by plinth at 2:42 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Other than white noise and ear plugs, sleeping apart or someone getting a cpap, I don't really think there are viable solutions for you. Mr. Anitanita wears a cpap, because like someone said up above, there is no way he would be sleeping with me if I made that kind of noise. I'm just asking for the same courtesy.

I don't think you can solve this in a way that doesn't involve him, though I see you both wish you could. Sleep is important. He's getting it. You're not. And it is near impossible to block it out, and why relationships fray. I don't really know of a/ny snorers who are okay w when you play the sound of their snoring back to them.

I'm so sorry to say that you can't make your husband wear a cpap. But you can choose to sleep somewhere else. Not to punish him, or get into some sort of standoff. But you have got to sleep now. Your child depends on having a functioning mother. Could you sleep apart now and revisit how you feel about it in six months or so?

That way you both sleep. And it doesn't require you to feet over it, which is unreasonable, or him to wear a cpap, which is important healthwise but also his choice.. Which he has a right to have.
posted by anitanita at 2:49 PM on December 22, 2012

To get over it. Not feet over it....
posted by anitanita at 2:51 PM on December 22, 2012

Mucinex-D Maximum Strength twice a day for the snorer. Add two tablespoons of Delsym before bed if there's a cough involved.

Worked like magic for my girlfriend and I.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:56 PM on December 22, 2012 [5 favorites]

He needs to see a doctor. Whether or not he wants to wear a CPAP, the reality is that sleep apnea can kill you (or anyway can contribute to other conditions which can kill you), plus it's wrecking your life. I know at least some cases of sleep apnea can be treated by surgery, too.
posted by KathrynT at 2:57 PM on December 22, 2012

If he is dead set against using CPAP, tell him to ask his dentist about dental devices for sleep apnea. CPAP is considered the gold standard, but dental devices are appropriate for some patients and are definitely better than nothing.
posted by Wordwoman at 2:58 PM on December 22, 2012 [6 favorites]

Obviously he does need a sleep study, but to directly answer your question, you could try an air purifier. If you read the reviews on Amazon and elsewhere, many many people have found them to reduce or eliminate snoring.
posted by HotToddy at 3:01 PM on December 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Pretty much the only fight my husband and I have ever had was about his snoring. It was so bad that when he slept in the living room AND I wore earplugs, it still kept me up at night. And the sleep study cost a ton because my husband has crappy insurance. But it was SO necessary.

This fight nearly ended our relationship, no joke. 99% of the time, my husband is the most kind and considerate person I know; he makes me a better person by his example. To see him just ignoring this desperate need for sleep that I had -- seriously, I was getting something like 3 hours of sleep -- went against everything I knew about him. It was an AWFUL case of cognitive dissonance.

Your husband's depression may also have a lot to do with his own sleep deprivation -- which he may not be aware of in the first place. Even aside from the cardiac and non-breathing issues of sleep apnea, sleep deprivation is no joke. My constantly sleep-deprived dad fell asleep on a drive in the middle of nowhere -- at 11 IN THE MORNING -- and ran his car into a ditch.

Now that my husband has had a CPAP for something like three years, he has used several kinds of face doohickies. Your husband won't necessarily have to have a giant face mask; he'll have a choice between a nasal thing, a nose and mouth thing, other stuff... It is absolutely not an issue for me, and we tend to sleep very close together. It's easy to take on vacations (and I can't sleep without him using it).

From my husband, who was very reluctant to go through the hassle of a second sleep study (which finally got him a CPAP):

"The biggest thing is that I don't have a reflux problem anymore. I don't wake up in the middle of the night and have violent, 10-minute coughing spasms because of it. I don't have violent coughing fits in the middle of the day because of some little tickle in my throat.

[What finally convinced you to do it?]
There was no convincing. He just has to go. Record his snoring and put it up on AskMe so everyone can decide for themselves. But don't play it for him. That'll just piss him off."
posted by Madamina at 3:15 PM on December 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

If your husband won't listen to your pleas as a wife, then tell him that as a father, he has got to do something about what is almost certainly sleep apnea. How will he feel if he has a stroke and can't be an active father to his child - or worse, dies and leaves the child fatherless? How will he feel if he has an apnea-induced car accident with the kid in the car? Sleep apnea can cause depression. Does he want to be a depressed, sleep-deprived dad who is grumpy and short with his child and is "mean," "scary" or "no fun?"

He needs to get to a sleep specialist. CPAP masks are not what they used to be - even full face masks are not the cumbersome ones of yesteryear, and there are also the options of nasal pillows and silcone gel masks.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:19 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm in what I'd say is the consensus here: His rights end where yours begin. The 'depression' thing sounds passive-aggressive.

I'm a man with sleep apnea. I don't use my CPAP; I can't fall asleep with it on, and I guess I'm supposed to stick it out longer than I've been able to in order to get used to it. I sleep in another room. I would never tell my wife that this depresses me; I should be apologizing to *her*. She didn't sign on for sleeping apart. But apparently I don't yet have it in me to stick with the CPAP or lose weight. When we go on vacation, I need to arrange for a second mattress and put it as far away from the bed as possible, because my issue shouldn't deprive her of sleep. If she still couldn't sleep, I'd see if there were a second room available in the hotel. Again, this would be unfair to my wife, not me; it's what I deserve for not addressing my weight OR my apnea.

The best defense against passive-aggression might be a little aggression of your own. I'd be very clear about the rights I felt I had. You guys have a problem, and the answer isn't trying to get used to sleeping with expensive earplugs.
posted by troywestfield at 3:25 PM on December 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

I am a tiny lady and I used to snore so loud that people could hear me outside of the house. Turns out I had sleep apnea and my tonsils had to be removed. Now I don't snore and when I wake in the morning, I actually feel rested, which never happened before. I don't use a CPAP because my surgery fixed the issue, so he shouldn't think sleep apnea is only resolved by CPAP.

As others have mentioned, sleep apnea can cause problems with your heart, which may be another way to approach the issue.
posted by dottiechang at 3:29 PM on December 22, 2012

This sounds familiar... except that I was the one snoring. As I was getting older it was getting worse and I finally went in for a sleep study. We found that I did have (mild) sleep apnea when I was on my back and dreaming. When I was not dreaming or sleeping on my side, there was no apnea.

I did get a CPAP machine and now the snoring is gone and the apnea is no longer an issue.

They might be initially uncomfortable, but once he gets get past that and realizes that it can save his life and yours, it is worth it.
posted by Leenie at 3:31 PM on December 22, 2012

This device doesn't all the way stop the snoring, but has been a godsend for my wife. Silent Nite.
posted by josher71 at 3:33 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

If he absolutely refuses to have a sleep study done or use a CPAP machine, stop sleeping with him. My parents have slept separately for most of their marriage due to snoring issues--both of them snore, but my mom's snoring keeps my dad awake. They're not interested in studies or CPAP, so they sleep in their own beds.

Honestly, I can't stand sleeping with other people or even pets. I'd let my cat or dog sleep with me but I definitely didn't sleep as well as I did when I was completely alone in a room without distractions--no tv, no miscellaneous lights, the right temperature, a hard mattress, etc. I don't see how two individuals can sleep properly in the same bed, even if snoring isn't an issue.
posted by xyzzy at 3:40 PM on December 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

It took several YEARS to convince my husband to go to a doctor about his snoring! When he finally had a sleep study done, they measured his blood oxygen level at 78% (at its lowest point). For reference, it should be 98-99% in a healthy person. He was killing off his brain every night and that scared him enough to wear his CPAP religiously. Now he's glad I hounded him, yelled at him and fought with him over this. It's not just inconsiderate of him to disturb your sleep, it could be life threatening for him.

If he refuses to go, just ask him if he is sure his life insurance premium is paid up because you'll need the cash once he has a heart attack. Might want to add disability in case he strokes out. (Sorry so frank, but sometimes husbands need a strong kick in the... I mean, dose of reality.)
posted by PorcineWithMe at 3:44 PM on December 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

My husband sounds like an enraged bear when he sleeps. I'm sure he has sleep apnea, but he has no insurance and we can't afford for him to see the doctor, let alone pay for a sleep study. I'm a pretty heavy sleeper but he still wakes me up and sometimes I sleep on the couch just to get some rest. If he had health insurance and he still refused to see a doctor about his snoring, I would divorce him. Your husband may be an awesome guy in all other respects, but he's acting like an asshole about this one.
posted by crankylex at 3:48 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Adding to the chorus -- my stepdad needed a CPAP machine and wouldn't use it, so he ended up having low oxygen to his brain for years, causing dementia-like symptoms.

This is why modern medicine is awesome. Tell your husband to suck it up.

Just used the edit window for the first time. Awesome.
posted by nosila at 3:53 PM on December 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Sleeping separately is a perfectly reasonable solution when one partner has any issue that disrupts sleep. If one of you worked shifts, for example, then you would have to always have an extra bedroom for the shift worker.

My Dad both worked shifts, and snored to raise the roof. You should have heard my friend when I mentioned that we needed to maintain a separate bedroom for him for this reason; she screamed, in the middle of a crowded restaurant, WHAT?!? YOUR PARENTS DON'T SLEEP TOGETHER?!??? (she really was the soul of discretion and empathy) so I fully understand how people can read more into this issue than is really there. Nevertheless, sometimes sleeping separately is the best solution.

As has extensively been pointed out, though, the reasons for sleeping separately (snoring) could be the symptom of a life-threatening condition and the way your husband talks about it suggests that he knows or suspects as much. Or if not caused by something serious, there are still investigations that could be done to help him stop snoring. There's no suggestion of his doing any of those things, because his snoring is something for you to adapt to, the end.

Well, maybe he just can't think straight because of sleep deprivation. But he can't have every little detail of his own way here, any more than you can. If he wants to sleep in the same room with you, he has to solve the snoring problem. The end.
posted by tel3path at 4:04 PM on December 22, 2012

Might not need a CPAP. He may need allergy meds, and maybe a humidifier. It's made a world of difference for my husband. It did still require a doctor visit to sort out. Good luck.
posted by kellyblah at 4:16 PM on December 22, 2012

I was you three years ago. It took me another year to convince my husband to do something about his snoring. He was apologetic but defensive about it - I think he didn't want to think about having sleep apnea, like he was embarrassed, maybe, I don't know.

Anyway. He finally went for a sleep study and they confirmed he does indeed have sleep apnea. He was really hesitant about the CPAP at first but he tried it at the sleep clinic (to make sure it was calibrated properly) and he called me the next morning to say, "WHAT IS THIS AMAZING FEELING?" He had, for the first time in who knows how long, had a good night's sleep.

he is a total convert and it has been a life changer for both of us. I'm an incredibly light sleeper as well and his snoring was making me despair in the middle of the night. One thing that I think tipped it over the edge was that I recorded my husband snoring. When I played it back for him, he was shocked and couldn't believe how loud it was. And he immediately understood why it wasn't just an annoyance - it was a real problem.

Good luck - I hope you can convince him to at least visit the doctor. It might not be sleep apnea, but he should still get it checked out.
posted by sutel at 4:19 PM on December 22, 2012 [5 favorites]

Seconding the humidifier. It helps a whole lot for my partner (and indirectly, for me). It can't hurt to try one before you try other things. Who knows, you may be lucky!

Also, there are sprays that tighten up the mucous membranes in the back of the throat, and so in many cases, keep them from resonating. Also worth a try. But this is something that he'd have to be willing to use.
The sprays generally taste of peppermint and aren't unpleasant to use, or so my partner says.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:53 PM on December 22, 2012

There has been a ton of innovation in cpap masks in the recent past for just this reason. A non-cpap (non-woo) alternative that works for some people is provent. A sleep lab can let him try out and properly fit a mask. A fair number of people get a bad fit and give up. Keep at it.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:04 PM on December 22, 2012

Wow, thank you all for taking the time to reply.

To those of you with tales of resistant spouses, I relate. I feel so stuck because I am getting all the blame for not wanting to sleep with him (I've heard many angry comments about how I have deprived him of a bed partner for a whole year - for a time he had a count of how many nights it had been that I had deprived him) but after experiencing such sleep deprivation during much of the baby's early existence, I am petrified of being there again. I believe that, to him, it is my fault he is depressed. Yet when I get sleep-deprived, I get craaaaaazy (as anyone would) and then that's my fault too. I'm just feeling desperate. And the fact remains that before all this craziness, I did enjoy sleeping with him, save the snoring. I still miss it. Save the snoring. Sometimes I feel so resentful that I can't just drift off into a catnap on his chest or curl up next to him and drift off without busting out the arsenal first (air purifier, white noise, earplugs jammed in painfully deep). So the sad thing is, I do want to sleep next to him. But physically can't.

I've considered recording it so he could better understand, but I don't know if his first wife already tried that. If so, it probably won't go over too well!

From reading all the responses, I think I am just going to make an ENT appointment, and tell him about it. He can choose to go or not (or reschedule to better fit his workday). Last question: will an ENT refer him to a sleep clinic? I.e., do you get a "prescription" for a sleep study from a doctor?

Thanks again.
posted by sixtyten at 5:43 PM on December 22, 2012

I've seen pulmonology and neurology as well as ENT do sleep clinic, which may be easier because ENTs are surgeons often with busy schedules. I'm sure that there are other doctor-types who do it. Ask your GP about the right person to see. Yes, if for no other reason than getting insurance to pay, a doctor will have write an order for a sleep study and make the appt for you, and they may need to seek preapproval.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:53 PM on December 22, 2012

My wife and I sleep apart (she's a light sleeper, I've started snoring more in recent years, no apnea). Before I just made my office my bedroom, I slept on the living room floor. Because *I* was preventing her from sleeping. Sure, I really miss sleeping with her, but she can't sleep with me there and I can sleep anywhere, so it is incumbent upon me to enable her sleep, so far as I can tell.

Anyways. When we have had to share a bedroom (hotel, maybe) I have had some success reducing snoring by taping my mouth closed with hockey or first aid tape. Maybe he'll try that instead of a CPAP?
posted by chazlarson at 6:05 PM on December 22, 2012

You deprived him of a bed partner? You were caring for your baby and yourself! He is being completely, utterly ridiculous and selfish.

Honestly, if I were you and I had the money I'd boot him out of the house for treating a new mother with such resentment, because taking care of a baby and a grown man who is acting like a baby would not be something that interested me.

A count of the days? What about the count of the days that you've been up with his offspring! Goodness.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:15 PM on December 22, 2012 [26 favorites]

'll also add that snoring is a really sensitive topic with him and he is reluctant to talk about it. If I bring it up he usually gets pretty upset. It was an issue in his first marriage, and the most I've gotten out of him on the topic is that he "has tried everything" and "doesn't want to wear one of those [CPAP] masks to bed".

I will happily PM you my phone number and let you talk to me and my husband. My husband was resistant for years to testing and finally it took his boss and a coworker to get it through his head (he fell asleep at work and was snoring loudly.) They had to stop the test in the middle and slap a cpap machine on him because it was too dangerous to let him continue.

After the machine it was like getting a whole new husband. Energetic and happy! Lifechanging.

If he doesn't get this treated it will probably kill him. Stroke or heart attack. I hope your husband has a lot of life insurance if he continues to be so stubborn.

I bet if you ask around you have other friends who have husbands with a cpap. I seriously would stage an intervention. Or call your doc and tell him what you have told us. This is not anything to play with.

And again, just pm me if you want my phone number. I am that deaddog serious about it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:31 PM on December 22, 2012 [11 favorites]

He's refusing to deal with the problem and then blaming you for being affected by it. In the short term continue to sleep separately - having a new baby is enough of a drain on your sleep schedule as it is - and in the long term he needs medical attention for both of your sakes.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:12 PM on December 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

You deprived him of a bed partner? You were caring for your baby and yourself! He is being completely, utterly ridiculous and selfish.

This, a thousand times. Good grief.

Also, there is another solution (although if your husband gets upset even talking about CPAP machines, I doubt he's going to like it). My ex-partner snored so loudly, he woke his children three rooms away. It was seriously unbearable. His ex-wife had complained about it for years, and he never did anything.

I gave him an ultimatum: not that I'd leave him, but that I would not share a bed with him until he did something about it. He hated sleeping alone so he went and saw a specialist. He ended up having surgery to remove excess flesh at the back of his soft palate. Fixed the problem almost immediately. (And he wasn't even overweight, just a big guy with a large head.)

Bear in mind, I wasn't even married to the guy, let alone caring for his newborn child. He was terrified of the surgery, but that's what you do if you love someone and therefore care about their quality of life, not just your own. Sleep deprivation = torture, and I'm pretty angry with your husband right now.
posted by Salamander at 8:17 PM on December 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

My husband was a very light sleeper and loud snorer. I always got up first, and his snoring was the soundtrack to my morning routine for several years. I'm a heavy sleeper, so we were always able to share a bed. One morning I woke up and realized there was complete silence in our room. I seriously was afraid he had died in his sleep, and had to lean in to make sure he was still breathing. I spent the next few hours trying to figure out what was different, and finally remembered that I bought new pillows the day before. Now, whenever he starts snoring again, I just go out and buy a new firm bed pillow. They usually last six to eight months. YMMV, but it really worked for us so give it a try.
posted by raisingsand at 9:06 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't often support this type of thing, but I very much hope you feel capable of sharing at least some of the feedback in this thread directly with him. It just seems like he needs to have the light go on about how this is absolutely not your fault and that he's risking his own health in addition to creating a barrier between the two of you by not dealing with this like an adult.

I have several friends who use CPAP machines - male and female, varying sizes - and even though it took some of them a while to commit to the mask each night, they are all so much happier and healthier for having done it. A couple were gobsmacked that their health had been at so much risk over something they thought was just an embarrassing personal quirk. They'd had no idea until their sleep studies (and one of them was doing it for a second time, because they couldn't sleep during the first one due to anxiety).

As harsh as the young rope rider's words are, they are certainly worth metabolising. I can't imagine he really wants to come off as that kind of guy, Yeeeeeesh. That might be the sleep dep talking, too, which makes this even more of a priority for him to handle.

GPs can refer to sleep studies, too, by the way. You might do a search to see if there's a particularly noteworthy sleep clinic in or around your area, just in case you can request a specific one that will do more good.

I wish you luck and the strength to get through this clearly uncomfortable, upsetting situation with your beloved.
posted by batmonkey at 9:12 PM on December 22, 2012

OMG. I'm trying really hard not to type out a seriously rage-filled post on your behalf. WTEverLovingF?!

Okay. Here's something your husband should think about: depression and disrupted sleep often go hand in hand. It's obvious, really. You don't get enough sleep, and everything gets thrown out of wack. Someone with persistent apnea is not getting good sleep and they are now in a deprivation of many nights, hundreds of nights.

First off, absolutely first off: He must stop attempting to guilt trip you and put you down for this. He can want what he wants but he needs to do so privately from this point forward. He has a medical condition that needs to be attended to. When he attends to it, then you two can talk.

My husband has some snoring problems but it seems pretty tied to his weight. I can tell what weight he is at when he starts snoring again. (He's one of these people who can put weight on and then take it off fairly easily so there's some fluctuation over the years around this specific weight number.) However, I started to kind of get a sort of hyper reaction to the snoring. I would even get mad when he'd say something like, "I'm so sleepy" and then pretend to snore. I would flip out because it would shoot up my adrenaline and then I'd have a hard time sleeping.

And when you have a baby? I mean...there's just...I never. Seriously. What? When things got screwy with the baby sleepwise, I'd cut a man who kept me from good sleep in the few hours that I got.

I'm so, so sorry you're dealing with this. And I'm so, so sorry that your husband is being beyond difficult. This is really not good. He's got to see the severity of his actions and recognize that he is giving you ultimatums that are not fair and will drive an even bigger wedge between you than the snoring.
posted by amanda at 9:14 PM on December 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Have you guys tried breathe-right strips? I (apparently) used to snore quite a bit plus I also had trouble falling asleep because it took too much effort to breathe, but a few months ago I started using breathe-right strips and it's done wonders. They open me up and make it noticeably easier for me to breathe which makes it easier to sleep, plus my SO says that I no longer snore which is really nice for her.

They're not expensive, maybe give them a try?
posted by Scientist at 9:15 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have this problem too. It is infuriating. It took 7 years but my husband finally went to a sleep study.... and they said he didn't have sleep apnea. We are now planning to turn a spare room into a guest bedroom so i can escape when it wakes me up.
posted by wurly at 5:24 AM on December 23, 2012

I feel so stuck because I am getting all the blame for not wanting to sleep with him (I've heard many angry comments about how I have deprived him of a bed partner for a whole year - for a time he had a count of how many nights it had been that I had deprived him)

Oh fuck that noise. I'd be furious: "It is NOT my fault you snore and it is NOT my fault you won't deal with it. Grow the fuck up." And if he's still being a shit about this, keep a count of how many times he's worken you up or kept you awake and tell him to stick it.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:39 AM on December 23, 2012 [5 favorites]

Husband here. Thank you for offering these empathetic words to my wife.
posted by brandsilence at 7:41 AM on December 23, 2012 [9 favorites]

You are very welcome. She seems kind and generous and more than deserving. Best of luck to you both.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:30 AM on December 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

You are welcome, Brandsilence, and good luck to you both. I want to add that it's not just concern for your wife - it's for you as well - your health and potentially that of your baby (if you were to fall asleep at the wheel with baby in the car) are at stake. As a dad, you want to stay healthy for the sake of your family. I hope everyone gets some good sleep soon!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:06 AM on December 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have mild apnea and didn't want a CPAP so I got fitted for the dental device which I am picking up tomorrow. It pushes your lower jaw forward to keep the airway open. There are other options out there, he needs to get in to a doctor.
posted by mattholomew at 9:29 AM on December 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

CPAP saved my marriage. Not kidding. Earplugs and sleeping pills did nothing to dampen the sound of his snoring. Incidentally, my husband now feels a lot more rested in the morning and his blood pressure is back to normal (no change in diet or exercise). He isn't crazy about the mask, but he feels so much better using it that he's pretty committed to it.

The fact that your husband wakes you up all the time does not indicate a lack of character, resolve, or discipline on your part. There's a reason people don't like to live upstairs from nightclubs. There's a reason police respond to noise complaints. There's only so much noise a person can reasonably put up with at night.

I think you just need to make permanent sleeping arrangements in another part of the house. He has to understand that either he has to get a sleep study or you will have separate bedrooms--no ifs, ands, or buts. You have your health to consider and the baby's. Good luck to you.
posted by elizeh at 12:07 PM on December 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

hello to sixtyten and brandsilence. Really would like to recommend an iphone app to record the noise at night. It was not till a few weeks ago when my incredibly noisy, snoring bed partner downloaded this, and heard himself for the first time, that he realised how bad it actually was and how much his sleep and so health must be affected all the time. He used an app called sleep talk, but I guess there's lots of others.
posted by stevedawg at 12:48 PM on December 23, 2012

You've gotten plenty of responses so far, but I'd just like to put in one more note about CPAP machines. My dad used to be a REALLY loud snorer. And he'd fall asleep super easily -- slip into a nap in the middle of watching TV, that sort of thing. We'd tease him for it.

Until one day he passed out behind the wheel and ran his truck through three other (parked) cars and four pine trees. He's really, really, insanely lucky to be alive, let alone unharmed by the crash.

And it was sleep apnea to blame. He got his mask (he calls it his "Top Gun mask" for the way it makes him look like a fighter pilot) and while it was uncomfortable to get used to, he's now getting enough oxygen. He doesn't snore. He doesn't randomly fall asleep. And he's safe behind the wheel.

Please, please, get your husband tested for sleep apnea. (So far as I recall, he got sent there by his GP and it was covered by regular insurance -- but US health care is so varied and sketchy that I won't assert any kind of guarantee.)

The mask and getup is expensive and not super comfortable, but it is a large reason why my dad is still alive.

Also nthing what others have said re: losing weight. I personally snore less when I'm not carrying so much weight in my jowls -- my dad is the same way. If your husband is the type to carry his extra weight around his chin, getting more in shape will almost certainly help.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 2:59 PM on December 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sew a tennis ball in a sock and pin it to the back of a tee shirt and make him wear it. He needs to always sleep on his side. You can get anti snoring pillows which force you to sleep on your side. They are comfortable, too.
No booze or sleeping pills before going to bed.
posted by Tullyogallaghan at 3:51 PM on December 23, 2012

Simply, if you can't sleep because he is noisy don't go back to sharing his bed. My SO sometimes snores and the only way to get off to sleep is to use the spare room. It's beneficial all round, since being kept awake when I needed sleep was beginning to make me want to scream at them.
posted by biffa at 4:12 PM on December 23, 2012

Well then you need to ask him which he would prefer: a CPAP machine and his wife, or no CPAP machine and no wife.

At the risk of sounding alarmist, I would amend this to "a CPAP machine and his life, or no CPAP machine and no life." A friend of a friend died from sleep apnea (at the ripe old age of 31, he suffocated to death), which convinced me to get a sleep study done (as it turns out, I did have sleep apnea). It takes time to get used to, but there are several options that are less extreme than the full mask (which I usually use anyway):
Sleepweaver (Fabric, goes over the nose only)
Nasal Pillows (Rubber, go directly up nostrils).

He would still need the full mask for when he is stuffed up. CPAP has made me less tired (I take far fewer naps during the day). And, being home for the holidays, my mom says that she no longer hears me snoring and gasping for breath at night.

TLDR version: Get him tested for sleep apnea.
posted by dhens at 11:28 AM on December 24, 2012

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