If you’ve ever lived with an intense snorer, you know how trying it can be. If you’re married to one (or are one yourself), it can have more consequences than mere annoyance – in fact, it can put your whole relationship at risk!
A little bit of snoring from time to time is to be expected, but when it comes to ongoing, nightly, high-volume “sawing logs,” there are a host of problems that couples may have to deal with.
While there are some health concerns for the snorers themselves, today we’re looking at the consequences of being the partner of a heavy snorer – and the rift it can create in marriages.
This problem has two main elements. The first is sleep quality.
When you aren’t getting enough sleep (because of being kept awake or waking up in the night due to your spouse’s snoring), it affects all kinds of activities in your waking life. Not only are your decision making skills impaired when you don’t get healthy sleep, you also face a weakened immune system, reduced reaction time, even difficulty learning.
Not getting enough sleep also leads to irritability – and that’s where it really begins to impact your marriage. If you’re more irritable in a general way, that can lead to more arguments, a shorter temper, blowing small problems out of proportion, and so on. When you can place the source of that irritability upon your spouse, you’re putting yourself on the fast track toward resentment.
More frequent arguments, plus an undercurrent of resentment for your spouse (based on something they can’t really consciously control), will chip away at the quality of the relationship – even if other areas are going wonderfully. As you suffer from insufficient sleep, the negative effects will compound over time. You may not even be consciously aware of anger or resentment, but if you can’t sleep… You will take it out on your spouse or avoid the situation as much as possible.
That idea of avoidance brings us to the next major problem – sleeping separately. It’s perfectly understandable, if your spouse’s snoring is keeping you awake, that you’d seek refuge somewhere else, like the couch or another room in the house.
This may be a short-term solution for getting some sleep, but in the long run, that too begins to chip away at the quality of your marriage. It may begin as an occasional thing – heading somewhere else for some rest when their snoring is at its worst. Eventually, though, you may start heading to this “other place” first, start sleeping in separate rooms every night, and throwing a wrench into your sex life, physical connection, and feelings of closeness.
So – the all-important question – what can you do about it?
First and foremost, talk about it! For some reason, many couples shy away from addressing the issue of snoring – perhaps because they don’t think anything can be done about it, or that they’re making a big deal out of a common problem. The reality, however, is that ANY issue that can put your relationship at risk is worth taking steps to resolve!
Let your spouse know what’s going on, and that you understand isn’t their fault. The next step, then, is to consult your doctor about what can be done about it. In Dr. Dana’s private practice, she has helped numerous couples get back on track by suspecting sleep apnea or other sleep problems as the culprit for snoring, and guiding couples to seek medical help. Many couples don’t even consider that treatment can reduce snoring, and thereby help a major (but often ignored) problem in the relationship.
If snoring is keeping you up at night, causing you sleep separately, and gradually creating a rift in your marriage, don’t stay silent! Talk about it with your spouse and encourage them to explore options for treatment or solutions. It may not seem like a big deal, but the damage it can cause should not be overlooked.