I snore…loudly. I know I snore loudly because I have been told by many people that I have shared a bedroom with (or who even slept in the bedroom next to me) that I snore loudly. Sometimes I snore so loudly that I even wake myself up. I usually start to snore before I actually fall asleep; during the “twilight” time when I’m half-awake, and I pull myself back into consciousness. It’s really a nuisance and very annoying.
About a year and a half ago I underwent tests for sleep apnea. Lo and behold, I have it. It’s a disorder whereby my soft palate is too soft and it obstructs my airway when I sleep. This causes my body to stop breathing, or to breathe so heavily that I pull air between the palate and my tongue, making that all-too-familiar noise. Sleep apnea can be deadly because it keeps people from getting enough oxygen at night and actually causes people to wake up several times during the night (usually without remembering it) to “reset” their palates and inhale deeply.
Once, when staying in a hotel in Mallorca, Spain, I was even approached by the person who was in the room next to mine offering up a snoring cure. It was very embarrassing when he said he could hear me through the wall. I’m not sure if it was thin walls or my loud snoring, but I was mortified.
Whatever the reason, I have tried almost everything possible to stop snoring. I have tried the Breathe Right strips that you place along the bridge of your nose to open the airway. They only work when I’m sick and need to breathe. I have tried throat sprays that are supposed to cause the soft palate to tense up, I have tried nasal sprays to keep my airways open. I even had a custom mouthpiece made when I was living in Spain! I have tried sleeping on my side, back, stomach…nothing works!
Last year I got a sleep apnea machine. It’s one of those machines where you have to wear a mask all night and it forces air into your throat, keeping the airway open and not allowing you to snore or suffocate. The machine actually works, and I don’t snore with it, but it’s noisy and it’s uncomfortable to have to wear that mask (especially when you are a “moving” sleeper like me and the tube gets wrapped around your throat). Recently someone told me about a chin strap that keeps your mouth closed during sleeping, there’s also a new product that adheres to your chin to keep your lips together during the night. Hey, I’m willing to try anything (http://www.helpguide.org/life/snoring.htm).
I get nervous when I am told that I may have to share a hotel room when I go on work-related trips, so I pay extra for a single. I keep myself awake on planes because I don’t want to disturb the people around me, I even wait until others have fallen asleep when I’m sleeping somewhere unfamiliar so that I don’t keep them awake. I have been embarrassed to sleep with anyone for many years (by “sleep,” I actually do mean sleep). I know I’m going to keep them awake and I’m going to embarrass myself. I read somewhere that men have narrower airways than women, which is why men snore more often, but mine must be miniscule. People also say that losing weight can help…well, I’m working on that. Maybe I should record myself again in the night and see if I’ve gotten any better. I hope so, I’d like to be comfortable sleeping around other people again!