Sleep Disorders

Updated 11 August 2014

Snoring partner: are you desperate?

Lying awake while your partner sounds like a pneumatic drill? There are solutions besides divorce. Here's more about them.

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Snoring is extremely common and can lead to sleepless nights for you and your significant other. The love you share will turn into hatred when at 2:30 in the morning your partner thumps you in the ribs for the umpteenth time, growling the old refrain, “Turn over, you’re snoring again”.

In many cases of snoring, solutions can be found and the sleepless nights you and your partner have can come to an end. To find your solution to snoring, the first thing you need to do is ask yourself whether you suffer any of the following during your waking hours:

  • chronic drowsiness
  • headaches
  • decreased libido
  • irritability
  • poor concentration
  • forgetfulness
  • nodding off at work

If you have these symptoms, you’re probably suffering from sleep apnoea. With this condition, you stop breathing for short periods while you’re asleep. It usually takes place when you’re sleeping on your back and your throat closes, blocking off your breathing. This arrests breathing – for around 10 seconds in some cases – and then you make a flatulent snorting sound and wake up.

If this is the case, it means that you are getting by on diminishing amounts of sleep. You most probably feel like death itself and it is advised that you consult a doctor on treatment methods.

Other factors that can aggravate snoring include heavy drinking, eating just before going to sleep, smoking or being exposed to second hand smoke, and/or being overweight. So you can cut your chances of sounding like a chainsaw simply by:

  • Not chugging away on draught beer or inhaling six Big Macs less than three hours before bedtime. You should also get to the gym. Improved muscle tone and less lard will help you to sleep, as will being physically tired from working out.
  • Stopping smoking - this is a good idea even if you don’t snore!
  • Learning to sleep on your side. Some people do this by sewing a marble or a tennis ball into the back of their pajama jacket, or whatever passes as a pajama jacket. Others find it’s easier to sleep on a couch for a couple of nights until they get into the habit.
  • Elevating the head of your bed, so that if you do sleep on your back there’ll be less likelihood of sleep apnoea developing.
  • Ridding your bedroom of potential allergens such as dust, and down-filled pillows or bed linen.
  • Wearing a nasal strip. Not everyone likes them, but it’s worth a shot. Nasal strips are basically flexible plastic put onto a sticky surface that widen the nasal passage and are drug free. They can be brought at almost any local pharmacy at a reasonable price. 
  • Snoring can also be a sign of enlarged adenoids and/or tonsils. So if no success comes out of a lifestyle change you might consider seeing a pharmacist or doctor about your physical health. There are also throat sprays that are available to help your situation, but you should be careful of gimmicks that are sold on infomercials.

 

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Sleep disorders expert

Neera Bhikha is a Neurophysiologist at SandtonMedi Clinic in Johannesburg. She specialises in Neurodiagnostic testing which includes EEG (routine and long term monitoring sleep studies), Polysomnograms, Nerve conduction studies/EMG studies.
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