Sleeping With the Enemy

We've tried every snoring remedy out there, but nothing stopped the nightly nose opera from hell

Photograph by Alamy

I remember long, long ago, when falling asleep was easy. I was a kid. All I needed was a kiss goodnight, and I was out. There was just a gently closing door, a murmured, "Good night, honey, see you in the morning," and the sound of crickets outside my window.


In college, back in the '80s, things got challenging. There were loud parties, roommates and still more parties; the sounds of music, screaming laughter, bottles smashing on the pavement, every conceivable form of rowdiness robbed me of sleep. And that was when I lived off campus!

So I bought a fan. Who knew that delicious white noise would save my sanity for years? I used it spring, summer, winter and fall. My roommates thought I was insane. "It's winter," they'd say, "Whatcha got the fan on for?" "Because of you and all your crazy-ass loud friends, your spontaneous midnight parties, boisterous phone calls and, last but not least, your two-in-the-morning leaden footsteps on the stairs as you stumble back home after the bars close, you idiots," I wanted to say.

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Once, my fan broke, smack dab in the middle of February. I was panic stricken. Where do you find a fan in February? I rushed to the stores anyway. The confused sales guy mumbled, "Uhhh, well, we got space heaters."

Many unfortunate housing situations later, I met my husband. Great guy. Love him to pieces. Two thirds of our lives together, the part where we're conscious, is wonderful. Wouldn't trade it for anything. The other third, when we are trying to sleep in the same bed, well, that's another story.

He snores like you read about. The cat runs from the room looking for a quiet place to curl up. Rafters shake as the earth rumbles underneath him, while tsunamis crash on distant beaches. It's bad.

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Don't even start with the cures. We've tried every snoring remedy out there—every chin strap, nose clip, diet, sleeping position, sleep apnea test, neti pot, billion dollar anti-snore pillow, you name it—but nothing stopped the nightly nose opera from hell.

I figured I had to up my arsenal. Find those weapons of mass destruction, or at least double up on the fans. My head began to vibrate, but I could still hear him.

Despair sank me nightly as I stared hollow-eyed at the ceiling, repressing murderous urges. I even bought an air purifier which added a nice bass line, and wore fancy Swedish earplugs, but ultimately nothing blocked the sounds rocketing out of my dear husband. We considered having his nose removed. My ears cauterized. Something. Anything!

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Then I found it—the Envirascape Soundspa. I overnighted it to myself, and I couldn't wait to go to sleep that night. I ripped open the package the second it arrived. I had a choice of:

Wind: Hmm, sounds Saharan. Made me think of camels, crawling through the dessert with no water, which made me thirsty, plus I could still hear him.

Ocean: Could hear the pattern of waves repeating, which kept me awake, couldn't stop thinking I'd better make those Cape reservations before our summer place fills up.

Falls: Didn't I just pee?

Brook: Swatting at invisible mosquitos all night long.

Nights: Insects chirping like crazy, all I could think about was how I needed to repair those holes in the screens.

Rain: Oh no, basement's gonna flood.

In the end, none of those sounds worked. The real problem? I could still hear him.

There was only solution: the guest room. He hated it at first, but preferred to stay married, which I appreciate.

Now, it's just like old times. The world has come full circle. I get a kiss goodnight, a gently closing door, a murmured, "Night, honey, see you in the morning," and the sound of crickets outside my window. I am out like a light.