We had an interesting conversation at work last week about snoring spouses. My boss's wife snores and my co-worker and I both have husbands that snore. The funny thing is that none of them truly believe that they make any sound at all while they are asleep.
For some reason, known only to himself, my good husband firmly holds that sleeping on your back is the most comfortable position known to man. He sleeps a bit like Sheldon on 'The Big Bang Theory' and can't understand why I have a problem with that.
I used to lie there and pray for a miracle in the hope that he would turn in his sleep and lie quietly on his side and peace would descend. When my prayers went unanswered I'd try the subtle leg jiggle, or the sideways shuffle in the hope that it would disturb him enough (without waking him) and he'd roll over and be quiet for a while. I found out later that all my wriggling and shuffling were just annoying him and he was wondering why I wouldn't just lie still and go to sleep instead of disturbing him!
So we came to an agreement that I could roll him over and he would do his best not to complain. Now each night as I reach the point where I'd like to hold a pillow over his head, I lean across and do my best to gently roll him onto his side. Sometimes there is reluctance on his part and he wiggles a bit or moves sideways but doesn't actually roll - a subconscious resistance - which proves to be futile because I'm not letting him get away with a half-hearted effort. Other times he rolls and then less than five minutes later he flips back over into his Sheldon position (because it is the most comfortable position after all!) Most times he stays on his side long enough for me to fall asleep and hopefully not have to repeat the exercise again in the wee hours of the night.
In the mornings I ask if he can remember me rolling him over. The funny thing is that he often says that he remembers and he can't understand why I was asking him to move because he was just lying there quietly thinking about things. I then ask "why would I roll you if you were quiet and awake?" and he tells me that he's what he would like to know!
And that brings me full circle to the conversation at work the other day, both the other spouses genuinely think they aren't making a sound and are quite perturbed when they are rudely shoved onto their sides - or elbowed and told to roll over (at least I do it gently). I've learnt that along with finding it harder to get good quality sleep, snoring is a part of midlife for most couples (the exception to the rule seems to be those partners who sleep on their stomachs - a rare and exotic breed indeed) and both parties need to be a little gracious in how they handle the situation - and a sense of humour doesn't go astray at times either!