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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 16, 2018

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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The power of habit

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to make a reminder works for you

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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