At first, a snoring partner might simply be annoying. But after years of keeping your spouse awake at night, your sleep issues become their sleep issues. And if you’re like most couples, it can become a source of contention within the marriage.
How you deal with it could impact the health of your marriage moving forward.
Snoring and Your Marriage
While it’s impossible to know the actual number, research estimates that 30 percent of people 30 and older are snorers – and that number only increases as people age. That means millions of couples all over the world are dealing with the negative physical and psychological impacts of snoring.
While the physical side effects of snoring are well-documented, not a lot of people talk about the psychological and relational impact chronic snoring has on marriages. Guy Winch, Ph.D., has spent a lot of time studying what he calls “complaining psychology” and believes snoring is one issue that exacerbates this tendency. Instead of confronting the issue head-on, most people choose to complain.
“Snoring is a problem that provokes the worst of our ‘complaining learned helplessness’ because the snoring partner often feels as though there is nothing they can do to prevent their snoring,” Winch explains. “Their response is therefore to minimize its impact and say ‘just nudge me and I'll roll on my side’, a solution that works for only a few minutes and puts the burden on their partner.”
If this is the approach you and your spouse currently use, then it’s important that you make a change. Otherwise, you’re just dealing with the symptoms, while ignoring the underlying cause.
Natural and Safe Ways to Overcome Snoring
The good news is that there are natural and safe ways to deal with snoring. Let’s check out a few of the top tips and techniques that may allow you and your spouse to overcome this source of contention.
1. Try a Humidifier
If you live in a dry climate, it’s possible that your air quality is worsening the snoring. “Dry air in your home can dry out the membranes in your nasal passages which can cause them to become blocked. It can also dry out your throat which intensifies the vibrations that cause the sound of your snoring,” former snorer, and founder of SnoringHQ, Mark Walton notes.
2. Sleep On Your Side
If your snoring problem is fairly minor, you may be able to solve it by sleeping on your side. The biggest issue here is finding a way to stay on your side all night. Some people use a body pillow, while others sew a pocket into the back of their sleep shirts and place a tennis ball inside. You may also choose to invest in an adjustable bed that allows you to elevate yourself slightly while your partner lays flat on their side.
3. Lay Off the Sedatives
If you consume alcohol, sleeping pills, or other sedatives prior to bed, you should probably stop. These things relax the muscles in the throat and have a tendency to interfere with breathing. Talk to your doctor about alternatives if you have problems falling and staying asleep.
4. Deal With Allergies
For many people, snoring is a seasonal problem that comes and goes with the presence of pollen or other allergens. While you can greatly reduce the effects of an allergy by dusting and vacuuming the bedroom, changing sheets, and being careful about what and who you allow inside, it’s not always this simple.
One tried and true method recommended by herbalists is the consumption of tea made from the herb stinging nettle. “To make the tea, pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 tablespoon of the dried leaf (available in health-food stores). Cover the tea and let it steep for 5 minutes,” Best Health suggests. “Strain and drink. Drink one cup of tea just before bedtime.”
5. Open Those Nasal Passages
Snoring is often rooted in an issue with airflow through the nasal passages. That’s why doctors usually address airflow first. If you can keep your nasal passages open, you greatly diminish the chances of snoring (and certainly reduce the intensity). There are a number of over-the-counter devices and products on the market that are totally safe to use. Some are effective and others aren’t. It generally depends on the person as to which camp a particular device fits.
Communication is the Key
You can spend a lot of time and energy on trying to fix your snoring problems, but there’s always a chance that you can’t totally overcome this issue. That’s why good communication will always be most important.
You and your spouse need to be open about your snoring issue, willing to laugh about it at times, and able to find solutions that keep you both happy and rested. Ignoring the problem and failing to take it seriously could result in bitterness and, in extreme situations, divorce.