How to Get a Good Night's Sleep
Hearing complaints that a husband snores is probably almost as common as hearing that kids forget to make their beds. Unfortunately, a husband's snoring issue can negatively influence not only his own sleep (and health), but yours too. Many people snore, and it is especially common in men.
Snoring is caused by a partial obstruction or narrowing in the throat, mouth or nose due to a number of factors, including:
- being overweight
- nasal congestion
- a deviated septum
- alcohol use
The problem is especially common in men because airway passages in men are narrower than in women. It is the vibrations from the tissues that produce the annoying sounds that can have you tossing and turning and keep you up all night. If your husband snores, here are some top tips to tame the beast and get some real sleep yourself.
Weight Loss & Snoring
If your husband is overweight, help him shed some extra pounds. Losing even a small amount of weight will decrease snoring by reducing fat in the back of the throat that can constrict breathing.
You know the drill: Replace fatty meats with lean meat and get rid of the skin on poultry. Avoid or greatly limit processed foods and introduce more fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains into his diet. Become members of a local gym or simply take a daily brisk walk together every evening.
Lying on your back can cause the tongue to fall back, obstructing the airway. Suggest that your husband lie on his side with pillows propped up against his back, or attach a tennis ball to the back of his night shirt to make it uncomfortable when he tries to sleep on his back.
Decongestants can help clear nasal congestion, but they should be used for short periods only. Natural remedies include drinking a lot of water, using a neti pot and inhaling steam. Add a few drops of peppermint essential oil, a natural decongestant, to a pot of hot water and have him lean over the pot with a towel over his head to trap the steam.
Nasal strips can also help your husband if he has nasal congestion, or if he has a deviated septum. These are flexible, "spring-like" bands that are applied to the outside of the nose. They open nasal passages by lifting the sides of the nose.
Not only does smoking cause a number of health problems like heart disease and lung cancer, it can also lead to a narrowing of the airways by irritating their membranes. If your husband smokes, encourage him to quit with the help of a support system, nicotine replacement products and/or pharmaceuticals.
Alcohol depresses the central nervous system which relaxes muscles, causing the airways to narrow. If your husband drinks alcohol, encourage him to quit (especially if he is overweight) or at least stop drinking a couple of hours before bedtime. Antihistamines and sleeping pills should also be avoided before going to sleep because they can have the same effect as alcohol.
Visit the Doctor
Habitual snoring can result in sleep deprivation and health problems like high blood pressure. If the above remedies do not work, urge him to consult his doctor. If your husband snores and periodically stops breathing for a short time before gasping for air during the night, he may have a serious condition called sleep apnea. If this is the case, he should make the next available appointment with his doctor to be examined.
Ear Plugs and Sleeping Arrangement
Until the problem is fixed, try wearing ear plugs to block out the sound of his snores. If this doesn't help, and his snoring is affecting your sleep and health, you may want to consider sleeping in another room.
Written by: Diana Cooper
Sources: Help Guide. How to Stop Snoring. Available at: http://www.helpguide.org/life/snoring.htm Accessed: May 7, 2011. Mayo Clinic. Snoring. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/snoring/DS00297 Accessed: May 7, 2011. Medline Plus. Snoring. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003207.htm Accessed: May 7, 2011.