Can this marriage be saved?
You: prone to insomnia and sensitive to noise. Cat fights and flushing toilets wake you up at night. Thunder jolts you awake to a pounding heart.
Your mate: considerate, generous, perfect in every way except one: snoring.
No, it’s not sleep apnea. You lie awake with insomnia so you know exactly what your partner sounds like: it’s a steady breathing in and out without pauses or gasps for air. But every intake of breath is a throaty juddering so loud your silicone earplugs may as well be made of gauze.
Eventually the snoring drives you out of the bedroom and onto the living room couch, and you’re fed up. A more permanent solution has begun to feel inevitable: separate bedrooms or, if your bedroom big enough, separate beds (and who knows where that will lead?).
But wait. Oropharyngeal exercises may turn your snoring partner into the quiet sleeper of your dreams.
“Oro” means mouth, and “pharyngeal” refers to the region of the pharynx, where the nasal passages join the mouth and throat. The exercises mainly involve manipulating the mouth and tongue. They’re definitely worth trying, results of a new clinical trial suggest. Wearing snore strips at night and doing oropharyngeal exercises for 3 months significantly reduced the frequency of snoring in study subjects by 36 percent and the total power of snoring by 59 percent.
The exercises are easy and can be done while driving to and from work. Here they are:
- With mouth open, place the tip of the tongue on the roof of the mouth and slide it backward. Repeat 20 times.
- Suck the tongue upward so that the entire tongue lies against the roof of the mouth. Repeat 20 times.
- Keeping the tongue in contact with the bottom front teeth, force the back of the tongue to lie against the floor of the mouth. Repeat 20 times.
- Elevate the back of the roof of the mouth while saying the vowel “A”. Repeat 20 times.
- Place a finger in the mouth and press outward on the wall of the cheek. Do this 10 times on each side.
- When eating, alternate chewing and swallowing from one side of the mouth to the other.
Would pictures make these instructions easier to follow? Visit ScienceDaily and click on the images to enlarge them.
If your partner is as considerate and generous as we assumed in the beginning, all it should take is a request and some instruction on your part to motivate them to get down to business. If your partner balks, float the idea of separate bedrooms or separate beds. See if the prospect of reduced intimacy brings them to their senses. If not (or if doing the exercises doesn’t help), well, maybe it’s time to invest in another bed.
No matter how good the marriage, a sleeping arrangement that interferes with one partner getting a good night’s rest is ultimately unsustainable. Face the music now.