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Snoring : We promise He's Not Doing it on Purpose

The battle of the sexes doesn't sleep. And neither do women who sleep with snoring men.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, one woman for every two to three men are diagnosed with sleep disorders. Yes, ladies, you can tell your men that snoring is a man thing. Men are also more likely to seek help for snoring, outnumbering women eight to one, which could support the argument that men's snoring is more disruptive than women's snoring. We're on your side.

A 2006 study by Rush University found that women who sleep with snorers might get real sleep 73 percent of the time they are in bed; women who do not sleep with snorers get more than 90 percent. So a woman who gets eight hours of beauty rest is awakened multiple times and might get only five or six hours. More disturbing is the university's finding that couples who are plagued by snoring are more likely to divorce, although we doubt that anyone has ever listed on divorce papers snoring as a reason for the split.

Women who complain of persistent sleep disruption should encourage their men to see their family doctors to rule out underlying problems such as anemia, depression, fibromyalgia, thyroid disorder, etc. The doctor might also recommend a sleep study to rule out sleep apnea, which is easily treated with positioning pillows, nasal sprays and CPAP devices. Sleep apnea occurs when breathing stops because the airway becomes completely blocked.

Sleep Apnea Pillows

As we sleep, our throats relax, which causes our airways to become smaller. When air moves in and out of our windpipes, the narrow tissues vibrate, hence the cacophony from the pillow next door. Sometimes a simple change in position can stop the snorer in his tracks. A web search for a sleep apnea pillow turns up several options, but you can create the same wedge effect under your shoulders, neck and head by arranging your standard pillows.

Saline Spray

If the snoring is exacerbated by blocked airways, which affects people who suffer from allergies and chronic sinus problems, your doctor might prescribe a saline nasal spray. The spray should be used before bedtime as directed by the prescribing doctor.

CPAP

The continuous positive airway pump is a small device that's about the size of a clock radio. Newer models have quiet motors that force air through a flexible tube, which seals itself with rubber seals to prevent leakage (which gets noisy) and humidity build-up. Most sleep centers handle repairs and maintenance and keep a supply of replacement parts, such as Apple o-rings and REMstar foam filters on hand. Be warned: This device is far from sexy, and your partner might be self-conscious about how he looks when he wears it. Keep in mind the long-term benefits, which is restful nights for both of you.

Ear Plugs?

If you don’t mind shutting out the rest of the world while you sleep, ear plugs are an inexpensive option for blocking out noisy sleepers. Stores like Home Depot and gun shops carry a variety of ear plugs, which range from bright orange foam to custom-made kits.

Save Your Relationship

Lack of sleep can elevate tensions in an already strained relationship. People who don't get enough sleep can be more irritable, which leads to resentment toward the snorer and feelings of dissatisfaction. Even worse, untreated snoring might send the couple to separate bedrooms which puts a damper on sex and romance, says Dr. Carol Ash in an interview with CBS "This Morning."

It's easy to point fingers and accuse your man of deliberately turning up the volume. "He turns toward me and snores right in my ear on purpose!" some women say. Chronic snoring and sleep disorders affect an estimated 40 to 50 million American men and women, and the vibration is involuntary—no, he's not doing it to tick you off.

Call a truce and then call your doctor.

     
     

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