Communicating with a partner who snores
So you love everything your partner…about except his or her snoring. It’s normal. Even the most patient amongst us will draw the line at sleep deprivation. But no matter how much sleep you lose due to someone snoring, it’s important to handle the problem sensitively. Remember that your partner likely feels vulnerable and even a little embarrassed about his or her snoring.
- Time your talk carefully. Avoid middle of the night or early morning discussions when you’re feeling exhausted.
- Keep in mind it’s not intentional. Although it’s easy to feel like a victim when you lose sleep, remember that your partner isn’t keeping you awake on purpose.
- Avoid lashing out. Sure, sleep deprivation is aggravating and can be damaging to your health, but try your best to approach the problem in a non-confrontational way.
- Beware of bitterness. Make sure that latching onto snoring is not an outlet for other hidden resentments you’re harboring.
- Use humor and playfulness to bring up the subject of snoring without hurting your partner’s feelings. Laughing about it can ease tension. Just make sure it doesn’t turn into too much teasing.
Throat exercises to stop snoring
Practiced for 30 minutes a day, throat exercises can be an effective way to reduce or stop snoring. Repeatedly pronouncing certain vowel sounds and curling the tongue in specific ways can strengthen muscles in the upper respiratory tract and thereby reduce snoring.
Try the following exercises to stop snoring. Start slow and gradually increase the number of sets you do. In some cases, you may be able to combine the exercises with other activities, such as commuting to work, walking your dog, working out, or taking a shower.
- Repeat each vowel (a-e-i-o-u) out loud for three minutes a few times a day.
- Place the tip of your tongue behind your top front teeth. Slide your tongue backwards for 3 minutes a day.
- Close your mouth and purse your lips. Hold for 30 seconds.
- With mouth open, move jaw to the right and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on left side.
- With mouth open, contract the muscle at the back of your throat repeatedly for 30 seconds. Tip: Look in the mirror to see the uvula (“the hanging ball”) move up and down.
- Singing can increase muscle control in the throat and soft palate, reducing snoring caused by lax muscles.
- Playing the didgeridoo may sound strange, but studies show that learning to play a didgeridoo (native Australian wind instrument) can strengthen the soft palate and throat, reducing snoring.
Alternative remedies for snoring
When to see a doctor about snoring
Snoring can sometimes be a warning sign of a more serious problem. A doctor should evaluate a snorer for any underlying medical conditions, other sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea, or any sleep-related breathing problems. Call your doctor if you or your sleep partner have noticed any of the following red flags:
- You snore loudly and heavily and are tired during the day.
- You stop breathing, gasp, or choke during sleep.
- You fall asleep at inappropriate times, such as during a conversation or a meal.
To rule out a more serious problem, a physician may refer you to a sleep specialist for a home-based sleep test using a portable monitor or request you stay overnight at a sleep clinic. If these sleep studies conclude that the snoring is not related to any sleeping or breathing disorders, you can discuss different treatment options to stop the snoring.