When your Husband Snores: What to Do About It

When Your Husband Snores: 7 Steps To Stop the Noise

Isn’t intimacy a beautiful thing? You lie in bed together, spooning, feeling each other’s heartbeats. Hearing each other’s breathing. It’s lovely to lie in each other’s arms in bed.

But what happens if you just can’t sleep that way, because your husband snores?

Remember the fairy tale of the Princess and the Pea? She can’t sleep if there’s the slightest little aggravation–even a pea under several level of mattresses.

'Little Boxes Princess and the Pea Bed' photo (c) 2011, ??? TORLEY ??? - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I think that fairytale was based on me.

I’ve never been able to sleep with noise. That’s one of the reasons I found missions trips difficult as a teen. When I was in a dormitory, with twenty people sleeping in the same room, I literally couldn’t sleep. For weeks. If someone was snoring, I’d just be up all night. People say, “eventually you’ll get used to it and you’ll fall asleep”, but that’s not the case. Researchers have found that the way that we learn to sleep as kids is the way that we sleep as adults. And I learned to sleep in quiet.

So when my husband started snoring, we were in trouble.

I would roll him over, and that might work for a few minutes. I’d kick him, and he’d stop momentarily. But throughout our marriage, there have been occasions where I’ve had to bail, and go to sleep in a different room. About ten years ago his snoring was much worse than it is now, and I found that we couldn’t go to hotels, because I’d have nowhere else to go. I remember sleeping in the bathtub a few times, with all of the winter coats under me as cushioning. It was bad, and I was so, so mad at myself for not being able to sleep with snoring.

Thankfully that period in our marriage didn’t last long, because my husband is a great guy and realizes how difficult his snoring is on me. And he took steps to reduce the snoring. Here are just a few things that can help:

1. Lose Weight

If your husband snores, could weight gain be the problem? My husband seems to have a specific weight where over that he snores constantly, and under it it’s really only occasionally. He has worked so hard to keep under that weight for over a decade a now, and I so appreciate it!

If snoring is a chronic problem in your marriage, often losing weight will help it (though even thin people can snore!).

2. Don’t drink alcohol too close to going to bed

If you or your husband do drink, try to stay away from the beer within two hours of going to sleep. Alcohol makes you snore more!

3. Get enough sleep

People snore more when they are simply exhausted. Today, the only time Keith’s snoring is really bad tends to be on nights after he has been on call. When he doesn’t sleep well the snoring is worse.

If you and your husband can practice going to bed at a decent time and getting at least 7 1/2 hours of sleep, you may find that snoring becomes less of an issue.

4. Lift the head of the bed a bit

Elevate the head of the bed, and some people have found that makes the problem less severe. Just stick something hard, like wooden blocks, under the legs at the head of the bed, so that your head is a few inches higher than your feet. See if that helps!

Stop Snoring Today!5. Get a mouth guard

Many couples have had tremendous success with a simple mouth piece. It takes a night or two to get used to wearing it, but it helps keep the air passages open so they don’t vibrate against each other–and hence cause the snoring. And they’ve been approved by the FDA and by Health Canada.

Basically it holds your tongue in place and forces you to breathe through your nose–so you can’t use it if you have a cold. But couples have found that it works wonders!

Honestly, if this has been a real problem in your household, I’d really recommend giving it a try. They don’t work for everyone, but if you can find something that can help you, imagine how much of a relief that would be!

6. See a physician

Snoring isn’t just a problem because it keeps your spouse up–and spouses of snorers have sleep disorders themselves from sleeping so poorly. It can also be a sign of health problems in the snorer. People who chronically snore are far more likely to have high blood pressure. And it could be a sign of sleep apnea. So do get it looked at, especially if it’s chronic.

7. Set up the second room

Finally, sometimes you just have to admit defeat. If you’ve tried everything, and it doesn’t work, or if your spouse uses a CPAP machine and you can’t sleep with the noise (I know I couldn’t), then you may just have to sleep elsewhere. I know we don’t want to do it, but good quality sleep is so important. When we sleep poorly, it affects our whole lives, and our health.

You can keep your bedroom as your main room, with all of your clothes, and personal items, and then just set up the den with a pull out couch, or a guest room with a single bed, where you can regularly retreat. You can even turn in together and pray together, snuggle, make love, talk, read the Bible, or whatever, but then, after you kiss good night, get up and go to the other room.

No, it isn’t as romantic. But sometimes we just can’t sleep in the same bed. If the second bed is easy to get to, and it’s always made up so that you don’t have to be hunting for sheets at 1 in the morning because he was snoring again, you’re less likely to feel resentful.

And you can take turns regarding who sleeps in the other room, too, so that it’s not as if one of you is being kicked out of your bedroom.

That ideal of two people sleeping in the same bed is beautiful. But sometimes it just doesn’t work. Before you give up, try everything you can. See a doctor. Get a mouth guard. Enforce more regular sleeping and eating habits. Once you’ve tried that, though, remember that yours is not a lesser marriage if you can’t sleep in the same bed. Split up to sleep, and you’ll likely find that you feel far more positive towards him during the day!

 What about you? Have you and your husband had to sleep in different rooms? How is that working for you?

Comments

  1. A few other remedies that work (at least for us) are:
    - keeping the air temperature cooler at night. We turn our heat down 7 degrees at night, which makes a difference.
    - humidity levels – dry air often induces more snoring. A cool mist humidifier or a whole-house version attached to central heating make a difference.
    - Breathe Right nasal strips, which keep sinus passages more open and allow for better breathing

    I would get frustrated with my husband’s snoring, which could wake the house. I did get to sleep anyway, but often would reawaken to it, and lost a lot of sleep. The snorer doesn’t get as solid a rest, either, so we both lived with the deficit. However, if you are awake at night because of the snoring, listen carefully for erratic breathing patterns and stoppages. The day after I counted 15 seconds between breaths, my husband was tested for sleep apnea … and now sleeps with a CPAP. It’s quieter than most electric fans, and doesn’t bother me a bit.

    And, sleep apnea is a life or death situation … I prefer the life deal. :)

    Otherwise, we have never slept in separate rooms. I can attest, however to maintaining a healthy weight — my husband and I are currently over our goal weights, and when not using his CPAP, he breathes erratically and snores louder and longer. He stopped snoring completely several years ago when we lost weight (he also had no more spastic colon and lower blood pressure). Working on getting back to that!
    Amy recently posted…The Work Stress Effect on MarriageMy Profile

    • Ditto to the nasal strips! My mom has always been a really loud snorer, and while a little noise doesn’t bother me I had a hard time sleeping in the same room when we were at hotels, etc. Those worked wonders for her.

  2. One more suggestion for a light snorer/heavy breather. I have been using an ear plug for about 6 years. I cannot sleep without it! (I’m a side sleeper so the “up ear” gets the ear plug, the other is muffled in the pillow.)

  3. My husband snores as well and I don’t want to ignore health issues, but until he wants to do something about that I am not into nagging him.

    But I do want to say that I am a stay at home mom and even though we have had financial struggles at times, he has never asked me to return to work. I let him snore. If he keeps me up, I can take a nap, although I do tease him about snoring sometimes.

  4. We slept separately for several weeks when our second baby was a newborn. Baby had to sleep in our room because our house is small and was not sleeping regularly at night as quickly as his older brother did and when my husband started falling asleep at his desk we knew something had to change. :-) You ultimately can’t force babies to sleep, so my husband would tuck us in and then go sleep downstairs on our big couch. I didn’t like sleeping alone but I could not be selfish. My husband is our provider and he needs to be rested. He returned the favor by helping with the baby at night on the weekends, letting me go back to bed after nursing and taking care of diaper changes and helping baby calm down and go back to sleep. I married a sweet man.

    Snoring has never been a huge problem for us fortunately. I snore in certain positions but the vast majority of the time I sleep on my side and don’t snore. My husband only snores occasionally but easily stops if I nudge him and he changes position. He’s the light sleeper in our house – the covers and his pillow have to be absolutely perfect and he has to have a white noise machine in order to fall asleep. I never needed any of that but I got used to it.
    Melissa recently posted…Why I Don’t Miss Cable.My Profile

  5. Melanie says:

    CPAPs don’t make noise anymore, as long as the mask is properly seated and sealed. If you are hearing any noise from the mask in newer machines, the person is getting air leakage and it’s not doing its job. The user should take it back to their medical supply company and work out a better mask. If you can’t find a mask that completely fits on its own, they do make silicon pads that fit between the face and the mask to take up any spaces that create leakage and noise.

    My husband has had one for almost 3 years and as long as he has it on right, I hear nothing. Zip, zilch, nada, no machine noise, no air noise, nothing at all. It’s almost freaky how quiet his side of the bed is, compared to all the noise he used to make!

  6. Allergies are another snoring consideration. Even though my husband thought his were under control with over the counter meds, he snored a lot and was tired all the time. Getting more aggressive treatment helped him stop snoring and get better quality sleep which led him to feel more well rested. My husband hadn’t seen anyone for his allergies since college, and while his symptoms hadn’t changed that much, the available treatments had. He was surprised at how much better his options were. Weight loss helped with the snoring too, but I doubt he would have been able to shed the pounds if he hadn’t started sleeping better first.

  7. Nasal strips are great I use them whenever I have a sinus infection. As for hubby once I nudge him to roll on his side he’s okay, he only ever tends to snore when he’s really tired.

  8. This is might be a long shot for some of y’all, but my husband ended up going to a dentist who worked with people who snore. Basically the roof of his mouth was the wrong shape and affecting his nasal passages, but between a chiropractor and a dental appliance to move some things around he snores a good bit less lately.
    Natalie recently posted…And the diagnosis was….My Profile

  9. I love this and I love your blog!

    How about having a dog that snores? How do you deal with that? ;)

    Thanks for encouraging us in our marriages!
    Becky recently posted…Marriage Myth #2 – Marriage will make you happyMy Profile

  10. My husband has been using a CPAP for nearly 4 months, although it seems like a lot longer. It is super quiet and doesn’t disturb me at all. I have to say, though, that it creates its own challenges to intimacy. There’s the self-consciousness my husband feels in it because–let’s face it–the mask and hose are not the sexiest look, and the barrier to spontaneity (Is it worth it to take the mask off and put it back on again, in the middle of the night or early morning, for instance?). Definitely, patience, compassion, and a willingness by both spouses to adapt are required no matter which method you use to improve sleep.
    Theresa recently posted…The Wisdom of the WaitstaffMy Profile

  11. My husband quit smoking a year ago. It has helped his snoring problem tremendously. He still snores, but not near like he used to. I wouldn’t know how you would go about talking with your spouse if he/she is a smoker. My husband knows I hate the habit, but it had to be HIS idea to quit, not mine.

  12. Kristi Winings says:

    Earplugs.
    I would be a divorced mom with 3 kids without my foam earplugs. I keep at least 2 sets on my bedstand where I can reach them without looking at all times. In the morning, I find the ones that fell out and put them back into their spot so they are ready to go into my ear while I’m 1/2 asleep the next night!

    Cheap. Easy and with some time you can actually get used to them and they are much less bothersome.

  13. Joann W says:

    I want to second the idea that fatigue can make you snore. My husband has an impressive snore. I tried the elbow, the nudge, the wake him up and tell him to quit, you name it. I hated the idea of a second room. I finally started to notice that he really snored when he was exhausted. So I started reaching over and rubbing his stomach, his back, his head, (whatever was within reach). He’d relax, fall into a deeper sleep, and quit snoring. It was great for both of us! This is the first time I’ve seen anyone agree that fatigue can cause snoring though!

  14. I spent 16 years, sleeping every single night with ear plugs. I was desperate for better sleep and just refused to leave the bed we share. All the tips and tricks to try to help my husband snore and gasp less just didn’t work. When he was finally tested for sleep apnea, the gentle doctor who reviewed the results with us asked me quietly, “How did you manage to get any sleep my dear?”
    His CPAP machine has been a life saver for both of us. The machine is so quiet, way quieter than his snoring ever was! The only time there is any noise is when the mask isn’t on correctly. And with proper rest, my husband is a much happier and productive man!
    I’m SO grateful for earplugs and CPAP machines! :)

  15. My husband has always been a terrible snorer. He, too, lost some weight and that helped tremendously. He tried the nasal strips, but usually he would wake up to find them stuck to his forehead or something! I used to pray that I would fall asleep before he did so that I wouldn’t have to listen to him snore, but it’s just nearly impossible. Now when he snores, which is usually only when he’s having sinus issues, I just wait for him to fall asleep and then head to the couch. That way we both sleep and no one is grumpy the next morning!
    Angie recently posted…No One Like Our GodMy Profile

  16. There is an operation that I call a SNORECTOMY. What it is, is that they take out your tonsils, adenoids and uvula with a laser. It is painful for weeks afterword but it cured my freight train, wall shaking snoring and allowed me to cuddle with my honey without being elbowed all night. Now we both get a good nights sleeps

    • John, sorry you got elbowed all night. Both my husband and I snore occasionally. I grew up in a room with a sister that snored like a buzz saw from her early years (and with her eyes half open). I got used to it. Consequently, I can usually sleep when he snores (although I’m a light sleeper and when he starts up it usually wakes me up), but he’s so intolerant of my snoring that even if he’s awake surfing on his computer in the late evening, he still wakes me up. I’d finally had it and reminded him that he didn’t need total silence to surf (especially with headphones available on his desk) and that it was inconsiderate for him to wake me when he wasn’t actually trying to sleep. I also told him that if he woke me up again I would cheerfully go sleep in the other room. He works out of the house and doesn’t have to get up early and I’m the one that goes to the 8-5 out of the house and need to get my sleep. He was elbowing and kicking me so often during any one night that I lost my temper a couple of times. I don’t see anything wrong with going and sleeping in the other room; of course, I’m on the older side of life and the need to cuddle isn’t as strong has having a good night’s rest, plus, we’re both need-the-space sleepers. I like the idea of just flat-out having the other room set up. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. My parents both snored and I asked my dad once how they got used to it and he said, “I just remind myself that it’s better than the alternative.” (The alternative was not breathing.) But please, everyone, kicking or elbowing your spouse is flat-out mean and a literal “rude awakening.” Anyone who does that to their spouse should repent. Talk about waking up on the wrong side of the bed. You can gently wake a person and ask them to roll over without whacking them. So, now he gets one gentle request for me to roll over. On the second one, I go to the other room. Since I laid down my sleep rules, there has never been a second one.

      • Maggie, I’m the same! I roll him over, and if that doesn’t work, I go in the other room, that we keep set up. I don’t have to use it often, but because it’s set up, it’s not really a big deal for me, and that way I don’t get resentful.

  17. My hubby is a rail, so we know it’s not his weight. Nasal strips…don’t stick. And he works 9+ hours 6 days a week, so getting to a Dr for more than OTC allergy meds or to an Ear,Nose,&Throat specialist…isn’t happening any time soon. I am such a light sleeper, but I need dark, not quiet, so I’m blessed in that! (I mean a VCR light used to keep me up!) I have a white noise machine that helps cover the sound a little, just enough that I’m gone. On the few nights he gets going really well & a well placed touch on his cheek doesn’t slow him down…I hit the recliner. Thankfully it’s few & far between!
    Karen recently posted…Garden…stage oneMy Profile

  18. Great ideas, and I add my votes for ear plugs and white noise.

    As to the snore guard, an OTC model may help, but one fitted by a dentist will do a far better job.

  19. My husband’s snoring comes and goes with sleep cycles through the night, or with how he’s laying in bed. I either have to fall asleep before or after he does. His snoring is usually fairly light but still noticeable. My favorite is when he sounds like an old fashioned coffee percolator! ;)

  20. My husband snored when we first got married, but we found out that the problem was a dairy and wheat sensitivity. Taking out wheat and dairy from his diet has helped so much that he only rarely snores if he has a cold (which does not happen very often anymore since changing his diet).

  21. I am so frustrated by this I don’t know what to do. My husband snores a lot and loudly. I absolutely can’t sleep with all that racket. I have tried ear plugs but they either fall our or are uncomfortable or I can still hear him. I usually send him to the spare room but this is like EVERY night. And actualyl I can still hear him smoring down the hall, He won’t do anything about it even though I have asked him to see a doctor and he knows it bothers me. I haven’t had a good night sleep in about 6 years. It is making me very resentful.

    • Hey Jan
      I feel your pain. I suggest headphones with music piped in all night. The headphones I am talking about are good ones that cover your ears, barring that how about a fan turned up on high in your bedroom? The fan should cover a lot of the sound.
      I really suggest the snorectomy (my term) for the operation where they surgically with a laser take out your tonsils, adenoids and uvula, cured me.
      John

  22. I didn’t see anyone mention nasal dialators. You can buy them on amazon.com

  23. M Hardwick says:

    As I lie here listening to my husbands snoring shaking the walls in our house I’m reading these comments which are giving me hope.
    My husband snores aggressively to the point it can sound very scary, he is overweight and a heavy smoker, both of which I hear you cry is probably the reason.
    I have to swap beds most nights with my 7yr old who is deaf, sad but however he cannot hear so its easier for him to sleep with his Dad than me, sleeping on a child’s high sleeper at the age of 38 is no easy task but if it gets me a few hrs sleep I will climb those steps!
    Tomorrow I am going to purchase some nasal strips for him.
    Regards
    Tired and worn out

  24. I have to wear a cpap machine which still disturbs my wife. We haven’t slept in the same bed for 9 years. This also means that we haven’t made love for 9 years. This is starting to upset my wife but I feel that it is a small price for us to pay so that we both get a good nights sleep.

  25. I’m the snorer. It’s humiliating to be THAT person. I tried to get a mouth guard, insurance won’t pay for it. I tried the CPAP machine (which are now crazy quiet, you’d be surprised how quiet they are now) because I have sinus problems it was extremely painful and I used it for 45 minutes before I couldn’t take the pain anymore. Haven’t tried elevating the bed. Working on my weight. My grandparents had separate bedrooms because my grandma snored and my grandpa has RLS, they drove each other nuts. My poor 8 year old daughter snores bad. It’s such a difficult thing and embarrasses me to no end.
    Mel @ Trailing After God recently posted…Wear GratitudeMy Profile

  26. I had this exact same problem. The snoring used to be worse and I slept on the couch for years. We finally set up a box fan and use it every night. It helps drown out the noise. It helps too when I go to bed early and the family is still making noise.

  27. I apparently snore in the night I don’t hear it though. I went and had a test and I don’t have sleep apnea.
    I get broken sleep because I wake my partner up who in turn wakes me up and ask me to turn over.
    Just this morning she got a bit aggressive with me and kicked me and made a dramatic point of getting out the bed and throwing her side of the bedding on me and stomped around the bedroom before going downstairs.

    I know it must be hard for her but I don’t mean to wake her up and she is making me feel depressed I can’t help it.

    She has a very controlling and dominating personality at most times anyway and although ear plugs would be a good solution she said she works and wouldn’t wake up with her alarm using them.

    Have tried everything and my nose just blocks up every night.

    Sometimes I think in some I instances she dreams of me snoring when I am not which wakes her up.

    Don’t know what else to do as its making me have a broken sleep and my partner is getting aggressive.

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