I never considered myself a heavy sleeper, but I slept soundly enough that my husband’s light snoring didn’t prevent me from falling asleep or wake me. Occasionally I would wake up when he let out a particularly loud snort but that wasn’t too often. However, his snoring has become progressively worse over the past few years. Sometimes I wake up so often in the night that it feels like cruel torture, and even earplugs don’t help.
When I noticed that his snoring started to wake me up more often than usual – many times a night – I went online to find some simple ways to help reduce his snoring – so that I could selfishly get a better night’s sleep.
After researching, I suggested he try sleeping on his side. I also told him that sticking to a sleep schedule could help both of us. We both started going to bed at the same time but this wasn’t the solution, and I knew he was going to need more than just a change in his sleeping position and a stricter sleep schedule.
I bought him a special pillow that would push his jaw and tongue forward and keep his neck from crimping. This seemed to help a bit, but gradually, his snoring resumed.
I also suggested that he should pay more attention to what he ate at night because a change in diet could help his snoring. I encouraged him not to eat large meals, rich food, or dairy, or drink alcohol or caffeine a few hours before bed. This definitely helped, but was hard to enforce on my end. Also, I found out that drinking more fluids could help reduce snoring, so he conceded to drink a few glasses of water every night before bed. That didn’t last long. He got tired of having to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and it wasn’t really helping anyway.
Next, I told him to go out, purchase a humidifier and put it next to his side of the bed to keep the air moist. He said he couldn’t tell if that was helping. I assured him that it wasn’t because I was still waking up at night.
So then I went out and bought him a handful of nasal decongestants, nasal strips, anti-snoring spray, etc. I told him to pick one – try it, if it didn’t work – move on to the next. He didn’t like the mouth guard because he ended up drooling and none of the other products worked for him.
I searched the Internet again for more suggestions. I found a site that described different throat exercises such as repeating vowel sounds (a-e-i-o-u) and more. He refused to do throat exercises saying that it was too ridiculous.
By this time we were both starting to get frustrated. Me, because nothing I came up with worked, and my husband, because he was tired of having to try all of these new methods. He wanted me to drop it, saying that his snoring wasn’t that bad. Ha! That night, I recorded him snoring using his phone. I set the recording as his ringtone and called him the following day when he was at work to ask him what he thought of himself. He sighed and said, “Yeah. Okay. That’s pretty bad.”
When he got home from work, we discussed a sleep test to check for sleep apnea. He was open to the idea, but expressed some doubts. He said that trying to sleep normally in an unfamiliar sleep clinic could skew the results of a sleep test and if he was going to spend more time finding a treatment, he wanted to do things right. He asked around and found out about the at-home sleep test.
After an appointment with his physician, we received an at-home sleep test kit in the mail. It was easy to set up and made the test a lot more comfortable than it would have been in a lab setting. The kit came with a belt to strap the recording device to his chest, a pulse oximeter and a nasal tube. During the night, the pulse oximeter on his finger measured his pulse and blood oxygen saturation. The device also measured his breathing and brain waves. The data were sent wirelessly to his physician and now we’re just waiting for the results.
Both he and I are very hopeful that the sleep test will reveal some answers. Regardless, I know that he appreciates the fact that the at-home sleep test made the experience much less of a hassle.