“‘Night!” I wave my hand from the couch as I bask in the glow of the Netflix phase of parenthood. Having tweens has its downs, but one of the serious ups is that they can put themselves to bed and sleep through the night. Booya!
So when I hit 40, I didn’t focus on my new wrinkles or underarm sags. Instead, I told myself, “I’m going to get some serious-ass pillow time and make up for the past 10 years of sleep-deprived baby wrangling.”
Then one day, I kissed my husband goodnight and rolled over, reveling in the thought of getting a solid block of snooze until my bladder or a house fire woke me up…
“Hon? Did you say something?” Silence. My husband is famous for his ninja-like ability to hit the pillow and fall asleep. I started to drift off, and a few minutes later, I heard it again: a small choking noise coming out of my spouse’s nostrils: “Znh!”
Oh, no he didn’t!
Because I am such a concerned, sensitive wife, I reached over and delicately shoved his shoulder. He jolted awake like I had just stabbed him in the kidney. “Wha?”
“Roll over! You’re snoring!” I hissed through gritted teeth.
And that’s how my post-child phase of sleep interruption began.
At first, it only happened once in a while—maybe once a week. Now, it’s every night. I have always had a hard time falling asleep. I need two things to drift off into la la land: darkness and quiet. So this new noise cutting into my space was an enormous problem. I mean, are you serious? I had just achieved the golden milestone of parenthood—sleeping through the night regularly—and now my spouse was keeping me up at night? You have got to be fucking kidding me.
I was on it. “It was nice knowing you, but I’m afraid we’re going to need his-and-hers bedrooms from now on.”
“Oh we are, are we? Should we just get his-and-hers houses while we’re at it?” he snarked.
“Yay! Can I get the bigger one? You can have the guest shed in the backyard and come in for conjugal visits.”
When we relayed our amazing separate rooms/houses plan to certain people, they found it less brilliant and more disturbing (sorry, Mom), but my husband and I thought we were hilarious. However, all joking aside, it seems we are not alone in this issue.
Mention the word “snoring” to couples, and you can get them pointing fingers at each other faster than if you ask who is worse at loading the dishwasher. People are sleeping in separate bedrooms, or on couches, or even in their kids’ rooms, using “bonding time” as an excuse to get some freakin’ rest!
For the time being, we have found a solution that works for us. My nighttime ritual is to set my alarm, plug in my cell phone and then…plug in my ears. I managed to find earplugs that drown out enough of my husband’s snoring but still allow me to hear critical things like tornado alarms or kid vomit hitting the bathroom floor.
I know I’m one of the lucky ones: My husband is a thin man, and when he saws logs, it’s not that bad. It sounds more like he’s sawing small branches. I’ve been stuck in rooms with much larger people who have diagnosed sleep apnea, and it’s torture. These people sound like they’re trying to raze an entire forest when they conk out.
Those of you who live with this problem know it’s no joke. Sleep deprivation is a serious issue. In nursing school, I learned that a lack of sleep has similar effects on a person’s performance to being intoxicated. Also, people who snore profoundly are not getting enough oxygen at night, and this can lead to behavior and personality changes like fatigue and shortened temper. There are sleep clinics that can diagnose sleep apnea, so *clears throat and puts on pharmaceutical commercial voice* ask your doctor if you think this is right for you or someone you love. And if you can’t get your snoring partner to go to a sleep clinic, there are a number of over-the-counter devices you can buy and discreetly place on their nightstand. (Note: Trading sexual favors if they wear them is a great way to provide positive reinforcement!)
For the record, my husband tells me that I snore too, but I call bullshit. I mean, I’ve never heard it.