Helen Martin: No snore-fire solution to this

At least someone is having a good night's sleep . . . Picture: Esme Allen
At least someone is having a good night's sleep . . . Picture: Esme Allen
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NATIONAL Stop Snoring Week runs from April 28 to May 2. Just as well because without that I might have invented Murder Your Husband Week, or at least Make Him Sleep in the Spare Room Week.

He didn’t used to snore other than after a big meal accompanied by flowing goblets of wine. For some reason over the past year, snoring has become the norm.

It can begin as soon as his head hits the pillow, but often it’s about three hours in to sleep, when I’m in deep REM or whatever they call it. Having already had three hours, it makes getting back to sleep tougher than if I hadn’t snoozed off at all.

To start, it’s a soft rhythmic purr. Sometimes it’s even hard to tell whether it’s him or the cat but that becomes clear when it graduates to a long snort which gets steadily louder. He didn’t believe me until we shared a holiday cottage with his son and daughter-in-law and she, bless her, bore witness to the insufferable noise even though she was upstairs and at the other end of the house.

Strategy one was nasal strips which I believe are designed to keep the nostrils open. They didn’t work, largely because the problem’s not his nose. It’s his mouth which appears to work in conjunction with his eyes . . . it opens when they close, a bit like a Victorian doll.

By then I was functioning on as little as two hours’ sleep a night. Waking him has no effect because within seconds, he’s off again. Something had to happen. So he bought a stop snoring ring from Boots for £35 which works on the basis of acupressure – at least it would if you put it on the correct finger and facing the correct way. After one wasted night he got it right and I was stunned to wake up and find it wasn’t 1am but almost 7am. A miracle yes, but a short-lived one. After a couple of weeks he became “immune” to the power of the ring and it all fired up again. Then there was a new development. Every so often he’d hold his breath and things would go very quiet. After a minute or so I’d fear he was dead and prepare to deliver heart massage. Poised over him to start pumping his chest, there would then be a gigantic exhalation that blew my hair back off my face, accompanied by a jungle roar. Every morning he’d wake refreshed and saying he’d slept like a top, while bug-eyed and exhausted I dragged myself out of a pointless bed to face another exhausted day.

Apparently I sometimes snore too. It doesn’t bother him. In fact, rather sweetly, he feels happy I’m actually sleeping and he contentedly nods off again.

We haven’t exhausted all possibilities yet. There’s a Hannibal Lecter-type contraption that pulls the lower jaw forward. There are anti-snore pillows with extra support for the head or neck and things you tie round the top of the scalp and underneath the chin to clamp the teeth together. Separate rooms doesn’t seem like a proper or romantic solution.

So instead I’m thinking about ­acquiring something that delivers a harmless electrical shock or the less technical option of a bucket of cold water.

Disasters all around

THERE’S a global internet catastrophe with the Heartbleed bug bypassing security on almost every major site, and Edinburgh scientists have made the first steps to being able to reverse ageing. . . two potential disasters that almost make global warming seem like a distant irrelevance.

Take control of MPs’ finances

EVEN in the wake of Maria Miller, there are still some politicians and pundits who think the answer to MPs abusing expenses is to pay more. Anyone else who defrauds their employer of expenses gets sacked.

Take control out of their hands. Pay their staff’s wages directly as civil servants are paid. Pay travel with vouchers. Calculate a set annual second housing amount for each region. And ban PMs from even suggesting cheating, disgraced MPs will be welcome back in future.

Why not ban jellyfish too?

SOME people don’t like dogs and want them banned from Portobello beach. Some of us don’t like wimpy kids, especially the ones that screech and become hysterical as if being approached by a tiger when a tail-wagging Fido comes within yards of them.

The elderly can be fearful of teenagers thinking they’re all vandals and muggers. Sunbathers hate frisbee throwers, volleyball players or kids with a football who kick up sand. Some folks are scared of crabs or jellyfish. So should we ban everything we don’t like?

A beach is an open space for all the community – and their dogs. A feature of Portobello used to be donkeys . . . lots of poop and more flies than you can shake a swatter at. We used to be able to live and let live . . . no more.

The problem for Portobello is it’s going to lose either way. For every person who doesn’t want dogs, there’s another who doesn’t want a beach without them. Some businesses depend on dogs and dog walkers, especially as they can be relied on to turn up, regardless of the weather. Maybe we should all stay off the beach and just leave it to the gulls.