Lean in closer. It’s time for another family secret. I’m not asking you to come closer so that I can whisper it to you but so that you’ll be able to hear me over that obnoxious sound coming from the couches and chair in the living room. No, that’s not a dinosaur barbershop quartet singing a paleolithic classic. That horrific melody you hear is coming from the snores of my husband, mother, father, and brother. Ladies and gentleman, I have lived my whole life as the sleep-deprived loved one of chronic snorers.
Growing up, I always enjoyed family vacations….until it was time to go to bed in our shared hotel room. The goal was always to try to fall to sleep before my parents did because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t get the chance. Not only are they snorers, but I’m an extremely light sleeper who at times has trouble initiating sleep. The more stressed I am about falling asleep, the more difficult sleep is for me. I remember crying as a little girl because I couldn’t get to sleep first. I have “slept” in many a hotel bathtub lined with towels. I have spent an untold number of hours reading in the bathroom once I finally gave up on ever getting any rest.
One year, my parents chaperoned a youth choir trip to Mobile, Alabama. One night the girls slept on the gym floor of one of the churches we were visiting. In the middle of the night, I heard one of the girls near me say fearfully, “Did you hear that?! What is making that noise?” I shook myself awake enough to try to discern what she was hearing. In seconds, I was fully awake because I knew without a shadow of a doubt exactly what that sound was and its origin. My mom, who had set up camp far away on the opposite side of the gym, was snoring. In the dark, I crawled across the floor and shook her awake. “Mom, you’re snoring. And embarrassing me. Please, please, stop!”
My mom was actually diagnosed with sleep apnea and has a sporty device that she’s supposed to wear every night called a CPAP. It “reminds” her to keep breathing through the night. I’ve discovered that continuous breathing is a good and healthy thing.
In 1996, I moved away from the snorers of my family to begin my happily ever after with the man I love….who snores. Actually “snore” is too mild a term for whatever it is that K does. At times I have clung to my side of the bed with all of my strength because I was sure that he was going to suck me, the furniture, and all the air in the room into his mouth during one of his particularly impressive suction snores. When we were newlyweds, I would cough, aggressively turn over, or clear my throat, hoping he’d think he woke up on his own. After a few years of marriage, I’d pretend that one of my arms or legs had inadvertently wandered to his side, hoping the brush of skin would wake him. A few years ago, I’d gently tap his arm or sweetly shake his side. “Sweetie, I think maybe you’re snoring.” Lately I’m resorting to full-on combat mode. A swift kick to the leg, a jab to the side, whatever it takes.
A couple of years ago when my youngest two were sharing a bedroom, I noticed that every morning I’d find my daughter sleeping in various places throughout the house. I thought she was just an early riser until one day she confessed that her brother snored. Et tu, Brute? He was having some other medical problems at the time and he ended up having a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. Now he’s a reformed snorer who only “breathes loudly” in his sleep occasionally.
K’s been to the doctor, too, and we’ve been told that a lot of his issues are due to allergies and sinus problems. I really try to be understanding, but I find that the closer to 3 a.m. it is, the more my sympathy wanes. What can I say? I enjoy sleeping!
So I poke, kick, prod, and on occasion, wear earplugs. And pray that we never decide to do an extended family trip that involves everyone sleeping in one room.
Do any of you live with snorers? Do you snore? Any good “living with people who snore” tips you want to share?