One of my favorite TV shows, oh so many years ago, was Mission Impossible. Long before Tom Cruise was accepting impossible missions, there was a weekly TV show with self-destructing tapes defining missions needing to be done in secret. The premise of the show reminds me of the “mission” described to me by an acquaintance of mine which, by all definitions, seems quite impossible and one that should not be accepted. Just let the tape go up in smoke and hope for the best. The mission, should one decide to accept it, is to silence a snoring spouse without waking them. Basically, get in, halt the ruckus and get out with the spouse none the wiser. Presumably, waking the spouse can lead to a bit of middle of the night grumpiness and all day irritability.
First, I need to make it very clear that this mission is not based on any personal first-hand experience. What is described here is based on comments from others who have found themselves in this fairly common predicament and have offered some possible sleep saving remedies. Second, I have been told the noise reducing suggestions noted here have slim to no chance of accomplishing anything other than making your loving spouse more than a little bit grumpy at various times during the night.
I am not quite sure what causes the nightly roar to ascend from the other side of the bed each night. A deviated septum (I have no idea what that is), a lumpy pillow (had a few of those), lack of sleep and tight PJs have all been floated out as potential sources of this most unwanted racket. Crickets chirping, roosters crowing, dogs howling, and thunder crashing are all preferred to the cacophony that is the snore. The biggest problem with any kind of snoring, or so I have been told, is that there is no consistency to the madness. Sometimes it is just a bit more than heavy breathing which can then quickly crescendo to an indescribable window rattling roar or fall back to total silence. The waiting and wondering soon becomes the main issues in all of this. The listener attempts to anticipate the next sound, and thoughts of returning to sleep soon lose out to the ever popular Guess What Sound Will Come Next game that has only one player and no clear way to victory. Other night noises tend to fall into a low consistent hum; snorers vary their noises on a most inconsistent basis. Snorers have an unlimited number of noises they can, and do, make. Snorers appear to know no season as all of the possible variations have been reported throughout the year. Finally, an experienced snorer will somehow manage to be perfectly quiet while both partners are asleep and then manage to resume at just the time their mate returns to bed from their nightly rest room stop.
So, when stuck with a snorer as a roommate, there are a few not so foolproof options to use.
- The gentle nudge approach is used by polite spouses everywhere. This technique tends to drive mixed and short lived results. A solid push might also work, but just make sure the spouse is not dozing too close to the edge.
- The shake the pillow option is a personal favorite of the one relaying this information to me. Supposedly, it can awaken the snorer without any clear trail back to the offending spouse. The subtle awakening keeps the crabbiness to a minimum, but also often leads to a quick settling back into the previous snore prone position.
- The butt bounce or full body slam approaches can be effective, but have become less effective with the improvement in bed design and are not recommended for sleepers over 50 as they have been known to cause back injury to both parties.
- The kick them in the shins method is a significantly bolder approach. The spouse will clearly know where the kick came from and will tend to wake up enough so that the kick will be a clear morning memory. Some explaining is needed should one decide to use this method.
- The throwing of an elbow tends to be the step of last resort. There is a chance for bruising with this method and it could be viewed by some as a bit of an anger response. The elbow can land in spots not intended. Nothing worse than a broken nose adding to the snore sources.
- Before step 5 becomes a viable option, it may be time to grab the pillow and find a friendly couch. My friend indicates this can be the loneliest of options and does not come highly recommended.
Ultimately, the best approach is to suggest a bit of late night reading for the spouse which would allow sufficient time to dose off before the melodies begin. This tends to be fairly effective until the non-snoring male spouse reaches 50 at which time sleeping through the night is no longer a common occurrence and the snoring spouse lays in wait for just the right moment to resume the noises of the night. Please remember all of the facts on this subject were gathered from in depth interviews with those less fortunate than me. Happy snoring.