Those that sleep apart grow apart,” says Margaret Thatcher, played by actress Gillian Anderson, on episode 2 season 4 of Netflix’s The Crown series. The context of the story?
Queen Elizabeth, played by Olivia Colman, invites the prime minister and her husband to spend a hunting weekend at the Balmoral Castle. Mrs Thatcher is presented with two separate bedrooms per the British upper-class custom, which she refuses to take.
Generally, in fiction, separate sleeping quarters for spouses are frowned upon. Another recent Netflix example is in Bridgerton series, where Daphne Bridgerton (played by Phoebe Dynevor), the newly-wedded Duchess of Hastings, is appalled when her dashing new husband retires to his own room at the end of the night, though the arrangement is swiftly remedied in the same episode.
Having shared the same bed with my husband for more than eight years, I wished I had the option to have a separate sleeping quarter. Because my husband snores. High-pitched whistles, raspy Darth Vader-like breathing, sleep-shattering rumble – you name it, he’s got it, he’s the Jack of all snores.
I developed a habit of kicking him (gently and not-so-gently) to nudge him to change his sleeping position. This rarely worked, and in the morning we would be both tired and a little annoyed with each other.
We have tried many tools sold in drugstores and Japanese supermarkets advertised to stop the snore, ranging from hypoallergenic tape to positively medieval-looking face contraption meant to open up your nasal path.
None of them worked. Because sadly snoring isn’t a habit that you can get out of simply by buying something. What currently works is the hardest work of them all – the change of lifestyle. Not just for him, but for me, too, which at first didn’t sound fair because it wasn’t me who snores.
But there is a higher chance for a habit to stick when we both make the change – birds of a feather flock together and all that. We have been leading an increasingly sedentary lifestyle thanks to the convenience of the internet and delivery service. This has been exacerbated by 2020: Our Year of Pandemic.
So, having exhausted the ‘easy’ options, at the start of this year, we actually listened to the many health gurus on Youtube and overhauled the structure of our day since the start of the year. Daily exercise and intake of fibre are a must. But most importantly, we must be disciplined about the sleep schedule, and enforce a no-smartphone in bed rule.
It’s been only a month, but I can feel the difference, I rarely catch my husband snoring again. Or, as he points out, it could be that the healthier lifestyle reset has given me better sleep such that I don’t jerk awake at the slightest disturbance like I used to do when I can only fall asleep at 3am after hours of infinite doom-scrolling on my phone.
Both can be true. Let’s hope we can keep this good habit.