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.
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!
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?