Sunday, January 8, 2012

I Don't Mind the Snormy Nights Anymore

The last few weeks have been interesting for me.  Don and I took the last two weeks of the year off work.  The first week, we traveled to Michigan for a short beercation, visiting Dark Horse, Arcadia Ales, and Three Floyds in Indiana, while on the way back to Illinois.  It was a great time, but I started having some trouble sleeping.

The week after that, I caught some sort of mild cold and continued to have increasingly more difficulty getting and staying asleep each night.

Just this week, a day after returning to work, I came down with some sort of stomach virus that had me weak, in pain, and exhausted from being awake for several hours each night.

What's worse, Don is a snorer.  There is a running joke at our house that, whenever I hear him snoring a lot during the previous night, the next day I complain that last night was very "snormy".

He seems to sleep pretty well, despite his snoring, but I certainly don't, especially when flare ups or other things are keeping me awake.  As a fibromite, I am never fully rested, even if I manage to stay asleep all night, as there is something in my body that is unbalanced and prevents me from reaching the deepest stages of sleep.  It is a common symptom of Fibromyalgia and I definitely suffer from it.

The worst part of Don's snoring, as I realized while listening to and studied the sound for many hours on end very recently, is that it's not a nice, rhythmic pattern of sound that I can get used to hearing and still drift off to sleep despite the volume.  Rather, the sounds vary in type, volume, and timing.  At times, I'd manage to drift into that pre-sleep stage, only to be startled back awake by that all too familiar chainsaw in the bed, next to me.  I must admit, there were times when I felt so frustrated I almost wanted to smother him with my pillow... but I didn't.  I cannot punish him for something he cannot help or even realize he is doing.  He's sound asleep, dreaming.  He might as well get a good night's rest, even if I can't.

Anyway, in the mornings, after Don was up for work, I mentioned my lack of sleep and my frustration with the snorminess.  He wanted to help, but wasn't sure what he could do.  He even offered to try those BreatheRight nasal strips that are supposed to help reduce snoring, but he has his own health problems and I didn't want to hurt his fragile skin with the adhesive.  I asked for ear plugs.

My little foam ear plugs, after several uses
Since I saw Breakfast at Tiffany's a couple weeks ago and saw Holly's fancy little tasseled ear plugs, I wondered if I should be sleeping with ear plugs, too.  Not tasseled ones, of course - I'd never be able to sleep comfortably with those.  But I knew we had foam ear plugs in the house, because we have gone target shooting and have proper ear protection for that activity.  So, Don dug them up for me and I tried them several nights ago, for the first time (for sleep).

The nice thing about these ear plugs is that they are like memory foam: they are small, and soft.  You roll the little cylinders into skinny little things that you can quickly cram into your ears, then they expand back as much as they can to fill your ear canal and block as much sound as they can.   They don't block it all - in fact, I can still hear the snores through them, but they definitely dampen a lot of the noise, so it's a lot easier to ignore.  They also block out all those little bump-in-the-night noises that can wake a light sleeper.

When I first put them in, I get to hear the ringing in my head a bit louder for a while, but I seem to get used to it soon enough and then drift off to slumber pretty easily.  I have used them now for three nights and I have slept WELL for a change!  I only remember waking up maybe once each night, to turn over and get comfortable.  I fell back asleep quickly and slept until a reasonable morning hour.  These little things have made a huge difference in my ability to sleep, stay asleep, and all the cascading symptoms that occur when I don't get enough z's.

If you're a light sleeper who gets awakened by any little noise or slight disturbance during the night, or if you are lucky enough to have a snoring bed mate and it's affecting your sleep, these are cheap and comfortable and worth a try.  Of course, if you have someone who depends on you to wake up at night, like a baby or other dependent, you may not want to reduce your chances of hearing them, but otherwise, go for it!

Here is a quick start to finding some foam ear plugs online, but you can probably find at least one brand at your local general store as well.  The larger packs might be better worth the price or/and shipping, since I'm sure they can only be reused so many times before they break down and get nasty from ear wax and sweat and stuff.  Invest in a few.

I hope this helps someone out there.  I wish I'd tried this earlier!