Trouble in The Bedroom
How my wife drives me crazy without even realising it.
So, there's this thing that my wife does in bed that drives me crazy, and not in a good way. To be fair to her, it's something impulsive and entirely involuntary, yet every night she torments me by doing it - seemingly more vigorously than the previous night, like some sort of petulant defiance.
I am, of course, talking about snoring. What? Did you think I meant something else? That may have more to do with your dirty mind than anything I've written up to now…
I'll preface this by saying that I too probably snore, although I've never heard it myself and have never - that I'm aware of, at least - compelled anyone to write an angry blog at 4am having slept for precisely zero minutes since going to bed at midnight - but there's something about tonight that has tipped me over the edge, despite having lived and slept exclusively with my wife for more than a decade.
Before we start, here comes the science bit;
Snoring is almost always caused by a restricted airflow at the back of the throat. This happens when the jaw (and attached tongue, which is much larger than just the part we see) falls to the back of the mouth, so air has to be forced between the tongue and the back of the throat. This makes the throat vibrate loudly - causing snoring.Snoring happens when asleep because the jaw muscles go slack, so the jaw (and the attached tongue) fall back, narrowing the airway. (www.snoremenders.co.uk)
I'd be willing to wager that this affects somewhere in the region of 50% of all people who share bedrooms - be they adults sharing a bed, siblings sharing a room, or anyone occupying an open dormitory-style room. The other 50% will be fast asleep, blissfully unaware of how much their sleep-noises resemble glass marbles being fed through a garbage disposal unit, and how much closer each and every breath brings them closer to being lovelessly smothered by a weighty pillow from Ikea.
I'm the first to admit that I'm not a great sleeper - I function on a weekly average of between two and three hours a night. I couldn't say why - that just appears to be the way my brain is wired (probably incorrectly, but that's a debate for another time...). But when I'm tired and irritable in the morning, it's not helpful to say that I need more sleep. I tried! But no amount of manoeuvring, loud coughing, jolting the bed or "accidentally" rolling into her and waking her up seems to do the trick. Within seconds it starts again, louder and more frequently than before.
It wouldn't be so bad if it was rhythmic and consistent, like getting to sleep when there's a car alarm going off outside. Over time we become accustomed to the constant intrusion, and the brain can eventually block it out. But when the noise changes tone and style every minute or so (from rusty chainsaw to asthmatic mule and back again), my brain wants to process the sound - presumably some evolutionary throwback to our caveman days and the fight or flight instinct, being aware of threats etc. - but if that's the case then I'd rather be mauled by a sabre-toothed tiger in my sleep, because at least that would mean that I'd had some…
If you google snoring, the first dozen entries that come up are products which will (allegedly) stop a person from snoring. Expensive products which look about as comfortable as a Scold's Bridle or one of the highly-convoluted torture contraptions from the Saw movies, which are probably as effective as a chocolate fireguard or George Best's liver. Each promises the be "the only effective way to stop snoring", which leads me to believe that none of them actually works. Sometimes I think I'd like to try one, but at £49.99 plus shipping I'm not curious enough to test one out - I can spend that money on more practical things that I know work, like ear plugs.
I'd love to know how other people deal with this problem - any hints or tips on sleeping positions, products tried and tested, or good places to dump bodies.
I should probably end by saying that I love my wife dearly, because when she wakes in a few hours and reads this she'll likely either transition from "Wife" to "Ex-Wife" or "Widow", depending - ironically - on how tired she is…