Does your partner snore – and if so, why haven’t you told them?

How do you tell your better half that he or she has a problem with snoring without hurting their feelings? A snoring partner is a very delicate subject – but it’s vital that the conversation takes place. Snoring is not a joke.

A tired sleepless woman with the pillow over her head . Isolated over white.

It is a sensitive conversation, but you shouldn’t avoid bringing it up. After all, your partner’s snoring problem heavily affects your life too:

  • It disrupts your sleep pattern, which is devastating to your lifestyle.
  • It makes you tired, impairing your lifestyle or productivity at work.
  • You might experience irritability, loss of temper and frustration.
  • During the day your body might demand the rest that it was really supposed to get during the night so that, while you should be going about your daily responsibilities, you can only think of taking a nap.

Perhaps you doze off at work or, more dangerously, feel like falling asleep while driving? Leading world motoring organisations state that sleepy drivers cause a very high percentage of the most serious road accidents – a figure they put at almost a quarter. Many serious injuries and deaths result from this and they name snoring and sleep apnoea as the direct cause of it.

All of the above reasons are extremely important for you to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. However, keep in mind that next to your suffering, snoring can be dangerous for the snorer too, as the condition has recently been linked to diabetes, heart disease, dementia and even cancer.

For these reasons, if not for others, you should have the important “Snoring conversation” with your partner as soon as possible. While at it, consider the situation your snorer is in, why he or she is not seeking help and how they feel about their health and lifestyle.

Leading experts say that if your snorer has been ignoring the problem for a long time, confronting the issue might stir up an array of emotions that can progress in stages or may even be experienced at the same time:

Denial
Denial is the most common first reaction after hearing about the problem. Snoring comes with a certain kind of stigma and most snorers can’t believe that they snore, especially because they are not the ones to hear it at night. If your partner is in denial, the best thing to do is to record their snoring. You can do it in various ways but a cellphone is easiest, and numerous free online apps exist. Confronted with tangible evidence, most snorers accept that they have a problem and try to find a solution.

Embarrassment
As mentioned earlier, snoring comes with a social stigma and because of this it might be humiliating for people to think of themselves as snorers. Be patient and understanding to your partner, assure him or her that you realise they can’t help it. Confirm your strong feelings towards them. It will be good for them to know that their snoring does not affect the relationship that you share. Do your best to be supportive, sensitive and respect your partner’s feelings, and since snoring affects the lives of both of you, work closely together to find the solution.

Helplessness
Snoring is no longer a difficult condition to cure and people often do not realise that a visit to a doctor is not needed, as a simple mouthpiece, worn during sleep, can solve the problem completely – and immediately. All the major health authorities throughout the world now recommend the use of approved oral appliances to prevent snoring and even treat sleep apnoea.

It is estimated that snoring, or sleep disordered breathing affects as many as 40% of adults, and they and their partners suffer from regularly disturbed sleep and loss of valuable rest. The problem is not confined to men alone, although many more men than women snore. However, the role of the woman is important, as not only is she likely to take steps towards preventing her own snoring faster than a man, she is the one most likely to encourage her partner to take the appropriate action to help them protect their health.

A wide choice of oral appliances now exists; from simple, inexpensive starter appliances that come straight out of the box, that are ideal for lighter snorers, to medically approved custom-made mouthpieces that prevent the dangers of sleep apnoea, and may even replace the use of CPAP or other mask-assisted breathing systems for mild to moderate sufferers.

It’s important to take those first steps and have that all-important “Snoring’ Conversation” as it will safeguard your health, and of your partner, improve or even save your relationship, and it may even save their life. Remember that the obvious and easy choice of sleeping in separate rooms is an option – but it is certainly not a solution.

John Redfern