My first experience of snoring was when I had to sleep on the floor in my parent’s room for some reason (I think we had guests). I woke up in the middle of the night, terrified that there was some kind of giant bee buzzing around, just waiting for an opportune time to attack with its massive stinger. Nope. It was my Dad, snoring in a bee-like manner. A few weeks later we had my Grandmother to stay, whom I shared my room with. I actually ended up sharing the dog’s bed in the utility room, as I couldn’t stand the noise reverberating around the house (soz, Nan).
I’ve always found it hard to drop off. My ideal conditions are complete darkness, and complete silence. The most noise I can deal with is some relaxing rain. I can’t fall asleep well if I’m at someone else’s house, and definitely can’t fall asleep on a car/train/plane journey.
Luckily, my nights more recently are mostly unbroken. My partner and I curl around each other in the most comfortable way, and are both very quiet and still sleepers.
However, this is not the case for all. Snoring statistics are often contradictory, but it has been suggested that up to 30% of adults are guilty. A study by the National Sleep Foundation found that about 24% of snore-suffering couples sleep in separate rooms and many couples who sleep separately are reluctant to discuss it. They also found that more than a third admit that their partner’s disruptive sleep habits have affected the quality of their relationship. 17-23% (two in five) indicated that their intimate/sexual relationships had been affected because they were too sleepy. Someone I know has to sleep top and tail with their partner, like a weird sleepover, because of the noise.
There may be a light at the end of the tunnel. If a foghorn in your ear constantly blights your nights, you may soon be able to frog march the offender down to the hospital to get a matchbox-sized ‘widget’ implanted into them.
This could be the end of snore strips, CPAP machines, or just a good old elbow in the ribs. A wire, threaded into one of the veins near the phrenic nerve (it starts in the neck and leads down via lungs and heart), sends an electronic memo to the diaphragm department, reminding it to contract, and thereby regularise the implantee’s breathing pattern.
I can hear the keyboards clacking already, with hollow-eyed partners trying to find the nearest backstreet-butcher to shove this thing in their partner. That’s it though, isn’t it? A majority of snorers don’t know they’re keeping anyone awake.
On a rare occasion when I might have to hiss ‘shut up!’ at my other half, he will usually just turn over, but sometimes opens his eyes and says sorry. He never remembers in the morning. So, technically, it’s not really the snorers problem, is it? Unless snoring is a health-risk, in the case of chronic sleep apnoea, then the person who’s doing it doesn’t care less. They’re asleep!
So, the question is, would you be willing to go through surgery, just for your partner’s sake? Would you ask your partner to have the surgery for your sake?
Although at the moment I’m a lucky girl, sleep wise – I’m for this little magic widget. I had many sleepless nights during a previous relationship and remember how frustrating it was, and how at times I felt so helpless over not being able to sleep normally. Everyone should have the right to a good night’s sleep. Yay for widget!