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8 Easy Ways To Tackle The Noise From Your Snoring Partner

8 Easy Ways To Tackle The Noise From Your Snoring Partner

Approximately 37 million American adults snore on a regular basis—and that means many of their partners are walking around like sleep-deprived zombies. As anyone who has ever slept in the same room with a snorer can attest, the sound of a chainsaw going off as you’re trying to get some shut-eye is more than a minor annoyance. In fact, partners of snorers report serious fatigue because the snoring makes it harder to fall and stay asleep.

That sleep deprivation, in turn, can cause all kinds of physical and mental health issues, including irritability, anxiety, daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, and decreased work productivity. Sleep deprivation brought on by snoring can also lead to resentment between partners and contribute to a loss of physical and emotional intimacy.

Snoring isn’t all fun and games for the snorer, either. The issue happens when a sleeping person can’t freely move air through their nose and throat; this causes the surrounding tissues to vibrate and make that all-too-familiar nasally roar. Snoring on a regular basis may contribute to high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, hearing loss, and even Alzheimer’s.

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So what’s the partner of a snorer to do? Here are eight ways to make sure that you get the sleep you need while prioritizing the health of both you and your partner.

1. Determine whether the snoring is position-dependent

Many people only snore when they sleep on their backs, so encouraging your partner to develop a habit of sleeping on their side may be an easy way to silence the snores. To assist their learning process, try propping up pillows to prevent your partner from flipping onto their back in their sleep. If that’s not cutting it, try sewing a ping pong ball into a small pocket on the back of your partner’s pajama tops—lying on the ball won’t feel comfortable, so your partner will naturally stay off their back while sleeping.

2. Invest in a bigger bed

Snoring will feel less invasive if you have more space between your head and your partner’s offending face. If you have the room, it may be extra helpful to place a wall of pillows between your heads. A comfortable mattress can also make it easier to fall and stay asleep.

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3. Drown it out

Some people find relief by wearing headphones to bed and drifting off to soothing sounds or music (Just be sure not to crank the volume as this can lead to hearing loss). A white noise machine, earplugs, or other noise-canceling gadgets may also do the trick.

4. Develop healthy sleep habits

While you may not be able to control whether your partner snores, you can control the steps you take to get ready for bed. A calming bedtime routine will set you up for the best chances of getting a good night’s sleep—snores or no snores. Try to practice these pre-sleep rituals every night (and encourage your partner to join you). Avoid alcohol and caffeine, and don’t smoke, exercise, or eat a big meal close to bedtime. Learn how to cope with insomnia and create a restful sleep environment by keeping the bedroom cool and dark, avoiding exposure to electronics before bed, and designating the bed for sleeping (and sex) only.

5. Have your partner try breathing strips

While they tend to be most effective in treating acute (as opposed to long-term) cases of snoring, nasal strips can be an effective, non-invasive, and side-effect-free treatment for snorers. Strips may be particularly effective for people whose snoring is caused by allergies.

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6. Ask your partner to start playing the digeridoo

Yes, it sounds bizarre. But research has suggested that playing the Australian Aboriginal wind instrument—which requires a technique called “circular breathing”—may strengthen muscles in the back of the throat so that they are less likely to collapse at night. Since that collapse is common among snorers, the idea is that training those muscles helps decrease the likelihood of snoring.

7. Try a shift in perspective

The sleep deprivation that’s common in the partners of snorers can lead to irritability and resentment, which only makes it harder to stay in the relaxed state of mind required for sleep. Try to reframe your attitude toward the snoring by thinking of it as the sound of someone you love breathing, rather than the sound of an 18-wheeler on rumble strips. Try to embrace the snoring as a sign that you’re lucky enough to have a live-in partner you care about. If that’s proving difficult, there’s some evidence that hypnotherapy may help you feel a little more charitable toward the snorer in your life.

8. Head to a doctor

If none of these techniques are offering the respite you need, or if your partner snores every night and/or experiences pauses in their breathing while asleep, then it’s time to head to a doctor. While your partner may resist going, remind them that the issue is affecting your relationship and making it harder for you to feel rested and keep your brain sharp. If they still need convincing, try recording them in their sleep and then playing it for them the next morning—odds are good they’ll be more likely to admit to an issue if they’re confronted with irrefutable evidence.

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A doctor will help determine if there’s a serious underlying cause, like obstructive sleep apnea, that’s contributing to your partner’s snoring. Treatments for sleep apnea include CPAP machines (which consist of a mask worn over the face), surgery, or an oral appliance that’s worn in the mouth.

If all else fails? You may want to join the 25 percent of American couples who choose to sleep in separate bedrooms. Ultimately, it’s up to the two of you to determine the best way to preserve both parties’ physical and mental health as well as the long-term health of your relationship.

Featured photo credit: girl, sleeping/Seniju via flickr.com

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Kenny Kline

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard. Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

Curiosity

Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

Patience

Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

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When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

A Feeling for Connectedness

This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

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1. Research

Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

Learning the Basics

Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

Hitting the Books

Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

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Long-Term Reference

While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

2. Practice

Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

3. Network

One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

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These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

4. Schedule

For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

Final Thoughts

In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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