My first 20-or-so years of marriage have been blissfully absent of snoring, the cause of so many spousal spats and fitful nights for other couples. But in recent years, my husband -- God bless him-- has developed some upper respiratory problems which affect his nighttime breathing.
Now, my evening's repose includes sounds ranging from a purring Chewbacca, to an angry sow, to a monotone dolphin, whistling through its blowhole. It is an unwelcome cacophony as I try to get my well-deserved rest at the end of my day.
Being the genteel person that I am, I do not do what I envision some wives may, which is to straddle their husband, take him by the neck, and shake him awake while yelling, "Stop making all that racket!"
But that scenario is purely speculation on my part.
No, no. I take a much more passive aggressive approach. Subtle. Innocuous. That's me.
The goal is to startle my husband enough to change his sleeping position and/or interrupt his sleep cycle so that his breathing/snoring changes. Even the methodic sound of Darth Vader's asthmatic breathing beside me would be a balm to my ears at 1 a.m.
Here are some of my coping mechanisms.
- The cough. Utter a well-timed quick, loud sound, such as a cough or yelp, to startle the snorer.
- The position change. This entails shifting my body in such a way as to create a large bounce or jiggle in the mattress, allowing physics to carry the energy to his side, thus giving him a cushioned jolt. This also can be accompanied by a cough and an exhuberant fluffing of the pillow. Well, really more like a punching of the pillow.....
Note: Having changed to a Sleep Number bed, this technique is not as effective. You know, wine glass... bowling ball....
- Bodily contact. This includes a quick jab of the elbow or kick with the toes. It is not meant to be prolonged, but enough to startle the snorer without making him aware that his spouse just performed an act of aggression on him. Sometimes the act can be accompanied by an innocent sounding "Sorry, honey."
- The earplugs. This is my last resort before changing bedrooms. It is a last resort because I don't like them.
First, it goes against all my motherly instincts. I have three children and a dog. What if they need me in the night and I can't hear their terrified pleas for help, their inconsolable cries for mama? OK. I may be exaggerating.
Next, once inserted, said earplugs allow me to hear, well, nothing, except for my own breathing and swallowing. Magnified. Kinda weird.
Last, the earplugs serve as a nice quiet backdrop for my tinnitus to come screaming into my consciousness.
Bottom line, it takes a lot of effort for me to relax with earplugs in.
Which reminds me, it's time to take the sheets out of the dryer,