I love my boyfriend to bits, but I also love sleep.
If I had one wish, it would be to join the ranks of the Sleepless Elite. Comprising roughly two percent of the population, “short sleepers,” as they’re officially known, only need about five hours of sleep per night to function at full capacity. I’m convinced that efficient sleeping is an unofficial prerequisite for winning presidential elections. And for being one of those impossibly productive people like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, or Sheryl Sandberg.
I am not one of those people. If I don’t let my brain and body rest for seven to eight hours after a busy day, I become a grumpy ass human incapable of stringing together a cohesive thought. So you can imagine that I’m not exactly thrilled when my sleep is disrupted by my partner’s offensively loud, musical breathing. Here are 18 things you should know before getting involved with a grade-A snorer.
1. When the snoring first presents, you will probably wake up in the middle of the night and marvel at your partner’s ability to create such wonderfully bizarre, thunderous sounds. This is what a dying giraffe sounds like, you might think.
2. Soon, however, shock and awe transform into frustration over the difficulty you face in falling back asleep.
3. After glancing at the clock yet again to count how many hours of sleep you’re not getting that night, part of you will wonder if being subjected to a symphony of nostril reverberating noises is the greatest test of unconditional love. Because as much as you know in your heart that the snoring isn’t your partner’s fault, you won’t be able to stop yourself from resenting them for it. Especially if you’re someone who needs sleep.
4. The following day you’ll awake in a zombie like state. What is snoring, anyway, you’ll ask yourself. Wikipedia will answer: “snoring is the vibration of respiratory structures and the resulting sound, due to obstructed air movement during breathing while sleeping. In some cases the sound may be soft, but in other cases, it can be loud and unpleasant.”
5. Unwilling to let nasal vibrations taint a perfectly good relationship, you’ll convince yourself that snoring is a minor problem for which there must be a fix. You will take responsibility for finding the right solution.
6. When you remember that ear plugs exist, you’ll feel silly for failing to think of this miraculous answer to your predicament sooner. Picking up a package of disposable ear plugs will seem like a major accomplishment—a giant leap towards regaining control of your personal sleeping patterns.
7. The first night you try to nod off with small squishy inserts lodged inside your ear canals, you’ll realize that it will take some time to acclimate to them. Cue snoring, at which point you learn that the plugs are distressingly inadequate. For an additional layer of protection, you will bury your head beneath the comforter. It’s harder to breathe this way, but it seems better than the alternative.
8. When your double sound barrier proves ineffective, you will no longer be able to contain yourself. At this point, you will resort to repeated, gentle nudging.
9. Soon, what was once poking or prodding will become aggressive shoving. This does the trick, but only for about twenty minutes, at which point you shove again. You will not feel great about this.
10. Next, you decide that the key to nighttime quiet is within your partner’s control. But before you make any suggestions about behavioral changes, you will do thorough research.
11. It will upset you to learn that a lot of people who snore have obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that leads to short periods of disrupted breathing and increased risk of heart disease. Mostly, however, it will encourage you to discover several simple preventative measures recommended by relatively reputable sources.
12. You will probably send your partner a friendly, inspiring email listing the tactics that seem easiest to incorporate into their routine—like staying hydrated, sleeping on their side, switching pillows, and avoiding alcohol before bed—careful not to mention the word “disease.”
13. Eager to be spared belligerent mid-sleep shoving, you partner will enthusiastically embrace the above methods. But none of them will work.
14. Next, you might hypothesize that deeper sleep is less likely to trigger a deafening snore fest. So you will purchase Melatonin, a natural sleep aid sold over-the-counter, and an eye mask.
15. When the mask and homeopathic pills lead to even more nighttime racket, you will realize that you have no business formulating scientific theories or conducting experiments.
16. At this point, willing to try anything, you will invest in some nasal strips, a “white noise” machine, a special neck aligning pillow, and a chin strap/head wrap hybrid contraption.
17. When your purchases arrive, and, one by one, each gimmick proves worthless, you will probably feel foolish.
18. The truth is, this is something you’ll have to learn to live with—until one of those superhumans who needs a minimal amount of sleep invents the cure for snoring.