How to Talk to Your
Bed Partner About Snoring
If you’re one of the millions of people who can’t sleep because of a bed partner’s snoring, you know how disruptive snoring is to your lifestyle. You’re tired and unproductive during the day. You feel frustrated and short-tempered. You doze off at work and maybe you even get sleepy when you’re driving, making you unsafe at the wheel. Your bed partner’s snoring problem has become your problem too. But what can you do about it? Your bed partner can’t stop snoring on their own. Earplugs aren’t enough, and you don’t want to sleep in a different room. What do you do when your bed partner doesn’t seem to understand that snoring is a big issue that needs to be addressed? It might help to consider the many reasons snorers fail to seek help, and try to understand what your snorer is feeling. The feelings surrounding a snoring problem can progress in stages, and snorers can have several emotions at the same time, such as:
- Denial — “I don’t snore!” Denial is a common reaction when a snorer is first told about their problem. They can’t believe that they snore—or, if they do, surely it’s not as bad as you describe. They’re sleeping like a baby, after all. If your snorer is in denial, try showing them how bad it really is by recording their snoring. You can use a video recorder, your cell phone, or just record a voicemail by holding the phone up to their mouth. Presented with hard evidence, most snorers have to admit that they do have a problem—which is always the first step toward finding a solution.
- Embarrassment — For some people it’s humiliating to think of themselves as a snorer. Assure your embarrassed bed partner that you know they can’t help it, and that snoring does not diminish your feelings for them in any way. But because you’re both affected, you need to work together to find a way to resolve the issue. Try to be supportive and sensitive to the feelings your partner may be working through. In time, your snorer may be ready to take the next step—finding a solution.
- Helplessness — If you’ve lived with your bed partner’s snoring for a long while, you may have already tried many “cures” or other techniques to stop snoring. In fact, you may have tried so many things that didn’t work that your snorer has lost hope of ever finding an answer. Before you resign yourself to a lifetime of sleepless nights, be sure your bed partner knows about all of the treatment options available.
- Fear — If your snorer has looked into potential medical treatments, they may be aware of surgeries such as laser-assisted Uvulapalatoplasty (LAUP) and Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) that involve removing or altering tissue at the back of the throat—invasive and painful options often requiring weeks of recovery time and pain management medications. Who could blame them for wanting to avoid surgery just to end their snoring?
Fortunately, for many snorers and their bed partners, there’s a much simpler treatment- an oral appliance made by Dr. Blalock.