Loud snoring spouse - What to do?
May 2, 2006 3:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for help with a snoring spouse, who's snoring is getting progressively worse and more intrusive to my sleep pattern.

My wife has always been an occasional light snorer, but recently it has progressed to the point where it keeps me awake. I am a light sleeper when I first fall asleep, whereas she falls asleep and gets into the deep, loud snoring within minutes of falling asleep. The snoring then keeps me awake as I try to go through my unwind and settling down to sleep period. It is intrusive to the point where I literally have to shake her awake and ask her to go and sleep in another room (at least until I can get fully asleep). She has tried reading until I get to sleep, but as she reads she invariably dozes off (literally within minutes) and then it starts. The snoring happens regardless of her sleeping position and we have tried OTC remedies, windows open, windows closed, humidifiers, heat off, air con on, and on and on. I have to get up early (4.30 am) and we usually go to bed at the same time, but the sleep disturbance is starting to really get to me.

Ear plugs don't seem to be an option as I rely on the alarm to wake me and I would be worried about missing it if I had ear plugs in.

Any home remedies, suggestions or web sites I can refer to?
posted by 543DoublePlay to Human Relations (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This is bizarre, but... lean close to her and make a tutting noise (like you're making a "T" sound but with more of a click to it, five or six times. It's a sound I've heard people use to attract chickens. Can't think of a better way to describe it). She will shut up immediately.

I can't explain it but it works for everyone in my family, including those who aren't blood relations.
posted by Hogshead at 3:43 AM on May 2, 2006

my brother wears this mask at night which prevents sleep apnoea. He feels a lot healthier for it. See a sleep clinic?

Personally, I cannot sleep in the same room as my husband and haven't been able to for years. He falls asleep instantly and snores incredibly. Even elbows in his ribs failed to improve anything.

Oh and in my family, the more you weigh, the more you snore. The more alcohol you consume, ditto.
posted by b33j at 4:07 AM on May 2, 2006

Get her to a sleep clinic. Stat. Sleep apnea is no joke. It can lead to stroke and heart attacks.
My husband has it and he was the snorer from hell. That diagnosis (and the cpap machine he wears at night) has improved our quality of life incredibly.

(It would be helpful if you described her snoring in more detail. Does she ever gasp or stop breathing for a few seconds? Stuff like that. Also is she drowsy during the day as well? )
posted by konolia at 4:27 AM on May 2, 2006

She's a back sleeper, I take it?

Roll her onto her side when she starts. Wedge her into this position using pillows if necessary. Sleep in the blissful silence.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:28 AM on May 2, 2006

I've just been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea and chronic tonsilitis after seeking help in this AskMeFi thread. I snore very loudly, and often sound like I'm choking in my sleep - might be worth getting your husband checked out for this too, it could be solved fairly easily with corrective surgery or a positive pressure mask.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:30 AM on May 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

I would say go to a sleep Doctor as well. Insurance usualy covers it and EVERYONE wil get a better night sleep. Int erms of sleeping on her back try sewing a ping pong ball into the back of her nightgown/PJs. This might sound uncomfotable but that is the point and your body will naturally adjust to not sleeping on your back.
posted by cdcello at 5:00 AM on May 2, 2006

I have developed a snoring problem lately, which in my case is fairly obviously linked to weight gain. Long-term I am of course trying to lose the weight but short term the things that help are staying well hydrated (beer makes it much worse), breathing through my nose, and sleeping on my front. When my wife wakes me up I drink a glass of water which seems to help a lot. Also I have read that singing/vocal exercises can help to tone the throat which seems like a harmless and fun way to help the problem.
posted by teleskiving at 5:05 AM on May 2, 2006

until u find a more permanent solution: u could use earphones with a vibrating alarm clock (which u will feel instead of hear).
posted by mirileh at 5:28 AM on May 2, 2006

Sleep clinic indeed. If there is any sleep apnea, not only can the snoring be fixed, but also sleep becomes more restful, and she will probably feel more well and more energetic during the day as a bonus!
posted by NucleophilicAttack at 5:54 AM on May 2, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the comments and suggestions. I don't think sleep apnea is a problem (currently) as she doesn't stop breathing when she snores - in fact it is a pretty constant noise (!). She does sleep on her back, but even on her sides (either one) it continues although the back position is definitely worse.

Sleep clinic sounds interesting, but as we have military health insurance (retired military), I have no idea if that would be covered, but no harm in asking.
posted by 543DoublePlay at 6:01 AM on May 2, 2006

Best answer: She may have developed allergies, causing some inflammation in her throat or nose, forcing her to breathe heavily through her mouth.

You can try putting anti-allergen covers[*] on your mattress and pillows, and washing all bed linens in hot water. Vacuum your mattress and any carpeting in your bedroom, dust the room thoroughly, and maybe invest in an air purifier.

Also, you mentioned she's tried changing sleep positions, but maybe your mattress is old, and is "forcing" her into certain positions that exacerbate the snoring? Maybe a new firmer/softer mattress will help?

If these and other suggested ideas don't work, she really should go to your regular doctor, who can refer you to a sleep specialist or an allergist (or both.)

[*] First link on google just as example - I've purchased mattress and pillow covers similar to these at KMart or Target.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:19 AM on May 2, 2006 [2 favorites]

I also snore when I'm on my side, it's worse on my back. I am in the same situation with my boyfriend - I could sleep through a hurricane, he is a very light sleeper. In my case, changing pillows helped, or least for a while being conscious that if I used my pillows to keep my head in position and not allow it to roll back and open my mouth, that was better. I also tried some Breathe Right strips - those are particularly useful during allergy season when I can't get enough air into my lungs due to wheezing and congestion. You say you tried OTC remedies, not sure if that's what you mean or not. The pillow position and Breathe Right together make it much better for my boyfriend (obviously, I can't tell when I'm snoring, but we've figured out that I snore when my mouth is open on my side, so the pillow thing was experimentation) and therefore, better for me.
posted by Cyrie at 6:21 AM on May 2, 2006

Put a tennis ball in a sock, and pin it to the back of her shirt (this doesn't work for buff sleepers. Duct tape?). This will prevent her from sleeping on her back.
posted by jimfl at 6:24 AM on May 2, 2006

I snored like a glass pack muffler until I had a sleep study done and found that I was having an average of 38 apneas per hour.

I'm on a CPAP now and my snoring has dissappeared. It's also changed my wife's life for the better.

And not all apneas are noticable by a persons partner. Partial apneas or hypopnea are also dangerous and can cause snoring.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:41 AM on May 2, 2006

Best answer: 543 DoublePlay-- don't assume there's no apnea just because you don't notice any stoppage. When my wife took up snoring pretty much exactly per your description, I didn't think she was stopping breathing, but the sleep clinic findings were umpteen per hour. She got fitted for the CPAP machine and uses it every night. It's not too romantic, but (a) she sleeps a lot better and is more rested during the day, and (b) I'm sleeping through the night most of the time. The machine is virtually silent. Military insurance ought to cover this.
posted by beagle at 6:59 AM on May 2, 2006

Response by poster: Again all excellent answers! THANKS ALL!! On the pillows/bed question we recently bought new pillows that support the neck area (no change in the noise levels) and a Select Comfort bed so we can adjust the firmness/softness (that is still being tinkered with). Add in an air purifier and new carpet in a recently redecorated bedroom and you can see why I am getting a little frustrated that there has been no change.

I will talk with the love of my life tonight about getting her a doctors appointment to see if we can get her into a sleep clinic on a consult.
posted by 543DoublePlay at 7:50 AM on May 2, 2006

In addition to her seeing a doctor, can you mabye go to bed a half-hour earlier than she does? It doesn't make much sense to go to bed at the same time, as nice as it is, if it's preventing you from falling asleep.
posted by occhiblu at 8:47 AM on May 2, 2006

An ex of mine used these breathe-right strips -- like little butterfly band-aids across the nose -- for her snoring. I wouldn't've believed these things could work if I hadn't experienced it.

Good luck. Sleeplessness is no fun.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 8:53 AM on May 2, 2006

I'm married to a snorer too. He did the sleep clinic thing - no sleep apnea. But a prescription for Flonase for his allergies improved things a fair amount.
posted by selfmedicating at 11:51 AM on May 2, 2006

I had to wait until I got home to ask my fiancee the answer but my father-in-law is a huge snorer.

My mother-in-law on the other hand is very greatful that they found this Marjoram Oil. Basically he just takes a good sniff of this oil and leaves the cap off at night. He doesn't snore 1 bit.

I am supposed to be getting some in the near future.

This is not the product that they use but it is very similar.
posted by cbushko at 5:41 PM on May 2, 2006

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