Imagine this: You’ve waited for ages to spend the night with your new husband. Your daydreams have included lots of cuddles, intimate conversations before you drift off to sleep, the caress of his breath on your cheek as he embraces you while you slumber and waking rested next to the love of your life.
Turns out reality is very different because your man is a snorer. Instead of a good night’s sleep in his arms, you have spent the night alternately shoving him into a new position or trying to block the sound by putting your pillow over your head. You’ve awoken feeling exhausted and irritable, certainly not blissfully happy, and you’re already wondering if this could be grounds for annulment. This scenario is all too common for many couples – newly married or just newly snoring - and the roles are reversed more often than you would think, with the wife snoring and disturbing her husband’s slumber.
Snoring can put a strain on even the strongest and most loving of relationships but for some couples, a ‘sleep divorce’ is a simple solution. This is a choice to sleep separately, thus ensuring that neither partner disturbs the other and both can get a good night’s rest. Statistics from all over the world suggest that many married couples are choosing to sleep separately, as outdated an idea as it may seem. In our fast-paced modern lives, sleep is just too essential to forfeit in favour of sharing a bed with someone who snores.
For others, the intimacy that comes from sharing a bed is crucial to the health of the relationship. The time spent talking and catching up with each other is a small window in otherwise very busy, separate lives and spending time on ‘pillow talk’ before falling asleep is a vital element of nurturing the relationship. Many couples would struggle to replace this time of connection if they were to sleep separately and for this reason, it’s not an option and snoring can become a major bugbear. It’s an unhappy situation for both parties: the snorer feels very responsible for the troubles
their snoring is causing which is often accompanied by a profound sense of rejection and feelings that their partner does not love them enough to put up with this issue. The non-snorer on the other hand, is often so sleep deprived that they can’t think straight, and they respond less kindly than they usually would, leading to feelings of guilt. They are also frustrated and stressed and don’t know what to do, especially if their partner refuses to seek help.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 39 percent of American adults get less than seven hours of sleep and more than a third are so tired during the day that it interferes with their everyday activities. The sleep loss associated with snoring — whether it’s the snorer or their partner - can impair a person’s ability to perform cognitive tasks involving memory, learning, reasoning and mathematical processes. It can also impair motor skills and cause morning headaches, irritability, burnout and depression among other symptoms, so the concerns raised by the disturbed partner are all too real and quite serious indeed.
It is therefore certainly worth discussing snoring as a possible issue in your marriage before walking down the aisle. It is as important as being on the same page about finances and bringing up children. Be open about the fact that at least one partner is likely to snore at some stage in the marriage and agree to put offense aside and seek professional help to resolve the problem. This simple conversation could save you much unhappiness, stress and fatigue in the long-run.