If your bed-partner is a snorer -- if you've listened to snorting and snurgling all night long -- listen up. Your nightlife can be more slumbersome.
Snorers wake you up -- they wake themselves up, too, says Breus. So you're both getting fragmented sleep, which zaps your energy and robs your body of the rejuvenating rest it needs. It can also rob the snorer of good health. Studies show that severe snoring can be linked to high blood pressure and headaches.
Snoring has many causes: nasal blockages, deviated septums, congestion from colds or allergies, even acid reflux. A sleep specialist can tell your snorer what's at the root of his (or her) problem, and treating the underlying problem often helps reduce snoring.
But if your partner is simply a regular snorer, here are a few more tips to improve your sleep:
- If your snorer is overweight, get him (or her) to lose it. Weight is a big factor in snoring.
- Slip your snorer a virgin margarita -- or other alcohol-less drink -- for that nightcap. Alcohol causes snoring because it relaxes throat muscles.
- Nudge your snorer, to make him roll over, not sleep on his back. There's less snoring with side sleeping.
- Rig up this little "reminder:" get an old tube sock, put three tennis balls in it, and attach it to the back of his nightshirt. When he rolls on his back, that little cue will make him roll back on his side.
- Get earplugs -- seriously, they work wonders.
- Try nasal strips -- they work, especially for people with narrow noses.
- Go to bed before your snorer, so you're in deeper sleep stages when he turns in.
- Invest in a white-noise generator to drown out the sound.
Forget the "snore sprays" that you've seen marketed to the weary, says Breus. These sprays coat throat or paralyze muscles so they can't vibrate. However, that can be dangerous -- especially if it interacts badly with medication you're taking, or if you have sleep apnea and didn't know it. "I try to caution people against using those sprays."