I happen to be a snorer.
The most common cause for snoring is being overweight. Personally, my issue is as a result of a deviated septum (a slight anatomical defect in my nose). I’ve tried everything, even sewing a tennis ball into the back of my pajama top — seriously.
And I know I’m not alone in trying to find something, anything, that will work. Some 90 million Americans are affected by snoring.
Twenty-four percent of couples actually sleep in separate rooms because of snoring, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Sadly, many couples who sleep separately are reluctant to discuss it.
Two out of five people indicate their intimate/sexual relationships are affected because they are too sleepy.
Here’s why it’s important that you do, if you love the one you’re with and those around you: Two out of every five people (17 to 23 percent) indicate their intimate/sexual relationships are affected because they are too sleepy. Another 51 to 62 percent agree that not getting enough sleep impacts their relationships with family or friends.
To complicate matters, it is a common attitude that nothing can be done about snoring. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are some natural ways you can try to give everyone a more restful and quiet night’s sleep:
1.) Stick to a sleep schedule.
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, holidays, and days off. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night. There’s a caveat, though. If you don’t fall asleep within about 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. Go back to bed when you’re tired. If you agonize over falling asleep, you might find it tougher to nod off.
2.) Watch what you eat and drink.
Aim to fast for 12 hours, meaning don’t eat or drink anything after about 8 p.m. Nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy at first, too much can disrupt sleep later in the night.
Related: Just a Snore or Something More?
3.) Shut it down.
Do the same things each night to tell your body it’s time to wind down. This might include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music. Most importantly, ensure the lights are dimmed/off, use blackout blinds, and keep the TV or other electronic devices off, as research suggests that screen time or other media use before bedtime interferes with sleep.
If you have children or pets, try to set limits on how often they sleep with you — or insist on separate sleeping quarters.
4.) Avoid long naps.
Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep, especially if you’re struggling with insomnia or poor sleep quality at night. If you choose to nap during the day, limit yourself to about 20 minutes and make it during the early afternoon.
5.) Exercise every day.
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep, help you fall asleep faster, and enjoy a deeper sleep. Timing is important, though. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you might be too energized to fall asleep. If this seems to be an issue for you, exercise earlier in the day.
6.) Learn to manage (not just cope with) stress.
When you have too much to do — and too much to think about — your body is likely to break down. Your sleep is also likely to suffer for reasons well beyond snoring. Get organized, set priorities, and delegate tasks. Write yourself a pink slip to take a break when you need one. Before bed, jot down what’s on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.
Related: Sleeping in Separate Beds Will Kill Your Marriage
7.) Try a sleep aid — of a different kind.
A sleep aid known as Mute is a patented nasal technology that has radically improved the way I breathe, sleep, and even run. It’s a simple, drug-free nasal device that you insert effortlessly; it works like a stent to open the nasal airways, allowing better for airflow. As a long-distance runner, I’ve found this hugely helpful — and as someone who values their sleep, this has meant the world to my wife! It has also saved me from the option of having to undergo a surgical procedure. (Other than using this, I have no ties to this company.)
While any of these might lead to a better night’s rest and rekindled romance, sleep apnea isn’t something to take lightly. The condition has been linked to increased risk for heart attack and stroke — so if your snoring continues, seek professional help.
Bryce Wylde is a natural health care clinician from Ontario, Canada.