NOTHING WORKS, SO NOW WHAT?
By now, you’re at the end of your rope. You’ve tried everything and you still snore. The snoree is at the end of her rope, too. In fact, if she had a rope she would probably hang you with it, and then take your rope, and tie your mouth shut.
Another study quantified that a snoree might lose up to one hour of sleep per night from these frequent interruptions from the snorer. When you do the math, that’s enough lost sleep to make anyone crazy.
According to one survey of nearly 5,000 snoring couples, nearly 80 percent end up in separate bedrooms during the night.
It’s time for the snoree to take things into her own hands or put things into her ears to get through the night.
Earplugs are rated by their ability to cancel out sound under a system known as Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). Most earplugs, including the ones worn by mechanics at airports, have an NRR rating of between 22 and 30 and are made of either rolled and waxed cotton, pure wax, moldable foam or silicone.
The absolute highest rating for a foam, wax or moldable plug is NRR-33, and it’s made of premolded silicone rubber filled with a silicone gel for a perfectly tight fit. At NRR-33, a vacuum cleaner of 75 db is reduced to the sound of a whisper.
Late-Breaking News: A Taiwan company just introduced a “next-generation” earplug that it claims will be the highest-rated noise-reducing plug on the market, quieting sounds up to 37 decibels.
However, since more than 85 percent of snoring is louder than 38 decibels, even this next-generation earplug won’t be enough. You can buy sound-cancelling ear muffs that can combine with the earplugs to cut sound out even further.
A woman in California slept through an earthquake of 6.9 on the Richter
scale because it was quieter than her husband’s snoring which was more than 50 decibels.
More important than the Richter scale, decibel level or NRR rating is the fit. A plug with a higher rating that doesn’t fit in your ear is less effective than a lower rated plug that is snug. Earplugs are cheap, and I recommend buying several different kinds until you find one that fits well and is comfortable to wear. You can even buy variety packs that have all kinds of different plug samples to test your preference.
Even when your ear canals are completely blocked with an earplug, you can still “hear” sounds through the bones in your jaw and head to your inner ear.
If you can’t get rid of the snoring noise, you can always cover it up. White noise is the process by which the irritating rasping sound of snoring is masked to the snoree – in effect drowned out – by a continuous and soothing sound, like that of rainstorm, surf or a waterfall.
You can buy white noise machines with several levels and varieties of white noise; the machines can sit by your bedside, hang from the ceiling and come with batteries and travel packs. The advantage of a white noise machine is that it plays continuous sound throughout the night; the disadvantage is that they tend to have a limited variety of sounds per machine from which to choose.
There also are pink noise machines. Pink noise is white noise that has been filtered and altered to impact lower-frequency sounds, and may be better suited to mask the rumbling of snoring.
If you want something with more choice and is less expensive, you can use a white or pink noise CD that you play on automatic repeat. The drawback is when the hour-long CD restarts, the few-second gap may be enough to wake you up.
The sine quo non of white nose CDs is a CD that is created to mask out the specific snoring sounds in your bedroom. For a pricey $250, you send a tape of the snoring to the white noise technician who then mixes sounds designed to mask your partner’s snoring. Make sure white noise works, and that you are planning to stay with your partner, before you try this expensive route.
And the pinnacle of white noise machines is a device that completely eliminates up to 80 db of sound. Shaped like a hearing aid, and using hearing aid technology, the battery operated device fits snugly into both ears and emits a total noise-blocking white noise. Be warned: the device is so good, it also blocks out sounds you may want to hear like smoke alarms, crying babies and phone calls.
The Etiquette of Separate Rooms.
If the studies are correct, and in nearly 80 percent of the couples, someone sleeps in another room, the question is, who leaves? Granted the snoree is typically the one to discover the problem, but why should she be the one to leave the room?
The late-night discussions and arguments as to whose turn it is to sleep on the couch, join the kids, visit the dog or sleep in the bathroom can be as destructive and hurtful as the lost sleep itself.
Fact: On one of the snoring websites, a woman confessed that she had fixed up her marble bathtub pillows and blankets so she could sleep there when her husband snored.
During one of our vacations, I was snoring so badly, I slept in our hotel room’s bathtub. It was not marble, and I didn’t have enough pillows or blankets, but I did save the vacation and our relationship.
Unfortunately, the ultimate solution to snoring may be breaking up, and in fact, snoring has been cited as grounds for divorce in numerous cases around the country.
Sarah Wilson will lose her third husband because of her snoring. On a divorce support website (www.divorcemagazine.com), the former nurse in the United Kingdom confesses, “I can see things with Steve going the same way as they did with my first two husbands. They both loved me, but neither of them could stand my snoring.” After 2.5 years of marriage, “Steve started looking tired in the mornings.
He wasn’t getting any sleep, and I thought, ‘Oh no, not again.’” Steve said, “Sarah’s snoring has put us through hell.” He had to quit his job as a telecom worker because he would fall asleep on his ladder while fixing cables. Her ex-husbands have called her Darth Vader because of the grunts she makes; she is so loud, her snoring can penetrate walls.
In fact, snoring may be the reason you’re not together with someone in the first place. Most snoring websites and resources say that if your girlfriend refuses to marry you it may be a sign that you are snoring. It also may be a sign you’re a jerk. I would recommend a controlled experiment. Next time you propose, do it this way:
“If I stopped snoring, will you marry me?” If she says yes, buy her an engagement ring and some earplugs. If she says no, find another girlfriend.