His Snoring Is Making Her Murderous, He's Oblivious


Dear Rhona,

I’ve been with my partner ten years and am crazy about him.  He’s hilarious, extremely laid back, is more hands on than me as a parent to our three kids and is loved by everyone.  By day, he is my favourite person.  I could hang out with him all day, every day and never get bored.  I say this as I know that’s not necessarily normal. A lot of my friends are driven mad by their partners and can’t get away from them quick enough.  The problem is, by night I want to kill him.  From the moment he goes to sleep he snores like a train.  I’ve got to the point where I want to do more than kick him to break the flow.  Neither of us has slept properly for years.  This is partly due to kids but mostly due to his snoring.  We don’t have a spare room so sometimes I send him to the couch but I end up feeling so guilty I don’t get a wink then either.  It’s really starting to impact our relationship, mainly because my husband doesn’t think that his snoring is a problem.  He’s not over-weight and is not a big drinker.  What can we do?  Sleepless, Kildare

I love that your husband doesn’t think his snoring is a problem.  You can guarantee if you were hooting your snout off night after night he’d have something to say.

Although my own husband thinks that sleeping in separate rooms is ‘the beginning of the end’ (I’ve pitched it enough times), if you had a spare room I’m guessing the issue would have been dealt with?  That would definitely be my first plan: get out.  Or set him up in a densely carpeted room to minimise noise.  Sound-proofing a bespoke sleep cell is something you might work towards, financially.  True, separate rooms may drive an irreversible rift between you long-term but at least you’d have a few months solid sleep under your belt to clearly consider your options.  You’d also be razor sharp for any subsequent legal negotiations.

But sure look, that’s not the case.  The elephant is very definitely still in the room.  The fact that you mention that your husband’s not over-weight and doesn’t drink much means you’ve eliminated some common causes.  The snoring may also be due to the shape of his mouth and throat, resulting in narrowed air passages, or a possible deviated nasal septum throwing things off course.  There’s also a chance it’s the more serious Disrupted Sleep Apnoea, which would require medical attention.


Before you seek professional help however, my friend has a great trick.  Her partner only snores when he sleeps on his back, which is also pretty typical.  Her mother suggested she stuff a tennis ball into a pocket t-shirt, which her husband wears back to front in bed.  So, every time he tries to roll onto his back he gets a tasty jab in the shoulder and flips back on to his side.  Problem solved!  Now, he resents sleeping with the back ball about as much as a teenager in the eighties despised orthodontic headgear but as my friend explained, she’s no longer at risk of committing a savage and brutal crime.  This way, it’s quids in – marriage saved, life in prison averted.

My advice is, kick off with the tennis ball.  If that doesn’t work and/or your partner refuses to try it, visit your GP for expert advice and a possible referral.  The Mater Private Sleep Disorders Clinic is one of the only clinics in Ireland offering a full range of sleep disorder diagnoses and treatments but your GP will better be able to point you in the right direction.  

Wishing your husband a swift and painless solution and you a marathon night’s sleep.

Rhona McAuliffe might not be a trained therapist but she does have very big ears, quite a long nose and a gaping heart. If you have a problem that just won't go away, she'd love to hear it.

Photo Credit, Javier Penas, Unsplash

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