Snoring is a major relationship stressor and how you talk about it makes all the difference.
Confession: When I reached my breaking point with Dan’s snoring, I did not handle it well. The roar of his snoring, along with a baby and a toddler interrupting my sleep for weeks on end, turned me into a shadow of my former self.
I’m not proud of what happened next. My psychology degree and communication skills went out the window. I simply went on the attack. This typically happened before my morning coffee. When my sweet husband would ask me a simple question, I would respond in a clipped tone and sometimes descend into tears of frustration. “Arrrghhhhh! Your snoring kept me awake ALL NIGHT!!!”
Aside from this one significant problem, our relationship was great. I didn’t want my resentment to spiral into bigger issues for us. We weren’t willing to sleep separately and risk our physical and emotional intimacy. Eventually, we were able to discuss it rationally, and we agreed to work together to find a solution.
It’s been more than ten years since Dan and I founded ZQuiet, and our products have helped millions sleep better. What I love most about our work is connecting with people who are on their journey to solve snoring and helping them. Dan has long forgiven me for my short temper during those sleepless nights and exhausting days. I hope these five tips will help you use better judgement than I did.
- Choose a neutral time
Don’t approach your partner in the morning when you are grumpy and tired. Choose a time when you both feel relaxed and connected.
- Use Empathy
Many snorers feel embarrassed or defensive. Remember, it’s not their fault that they snore. When you approach the topic with a patient and understanding tone, they are far more likely to respond positively.
- Don’t publicly shame them
That’s passive aggressive (Or, just flat out aggressive!). Even joking about it with friends can make a snorer feel self-conscious or angry.
- Use “I” Statements
Rather than point the finger at them, ask them to help you solve this problem from your point of view. For example: “I feel so tired and short-tempered, and I think it would help both of us if I could get more sleep. Can you help me with that? I really want to sleep right next to you.”
- Discuss the Health Issues
Chronic snoring deprives the body of much-needed oxygen, which is why so many snorers feel tired and groggy. This is also why snoring and sleep apnea are linked to serious medical issues like heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. If your snorer is a man and you want to get his attention, let him know that snoring is linked to erectile dysfunction.
Bonus Tip: Is your partner in what we call “Snoring Denial”? If so, download our Snoring App and record his or her snore score along with their snoring. Don’t use the results as a weapon, but as a way to help them come to terms with what you’re living with. As you try different solutions, you can watch the score improve — and along with it your relationship and energy for each other and life!