Constable: What I really need for a good Valentine's Day in the bedroom is a snoring remedy
For some Americans on Valentine's Day, the only sure bet in the bedroom is snoring.
An estimated 90 million American adults snore sometimes, and 37 million make it a regular event, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Those numbers probably would be much higher, but the foundation notes, "snorers are generally unaware of their snoring and must rely on the observations of their bed partners." Bed partners, even on Valentine's Day, are not a given.
Snoring is more common in men, increases with age and worsens with weight gain. So I am basically the poster boy (or, more accurately, the poster old man) for snoring. Unable to change my age, uninterested in changing my gender, and undisciplined in my attempts to lose weight, I search for an easy way to curb my snoring.
Surely, the internet knows how to stop me from snoring. It offers plenty of options.
"This Pineapple Plant Helps You Stop Snoring," reads one online ad selling pineapple plants. "According to NASA, pineapple plants produce oxygen."
I've been skeptical of taking fruit advice from NASA since I was a boy and discovered the strawberry in NASA's freeze-dried astronaut Neapolitan ice cream tasted a lot like chalk. I suspect lots of plants could provide me with oxygen. Besides, my snoring isn't caused by a lack of oxygen.
For several nights, I tried those nasal strips that football players sometimes wear to help them breathe in more oxygen. The uncomfortable strips looked stupid and couldn't stay on my nose, which means that my snoring is more jarring than an NFL tackle. I tried spraying anti-snoring juice in my mouth before bed.
When that didn't work, I switched to drops on my tongue, which also did nothing. I sprayed another product up my nose, which again made no difference. Same with decongestants and allergy medications.
Anti-snoring pillows seem easy to replicate by combining pillows we have at home, and that never works. An anti-snoring wristwatch delivers mild electrical pulses whenever it hears me snoring. But that wouldn't stop my snoring; it just let me know I am doing it. My wife does the same thing for free now by delivering a mild palm to my face whenever my snoring jars her from a deep sleep.
A $300 device promises to detect when I am snoring and compensate by adjusting my pillow height. Remote-control beds can adjust the angle of my head as well. I've removed my pillow and slept on my side and my stomach without my wife hearing any differences, so I'm not buying the argument that my snoring is a matter of angles.
For much less money, I could buy any number of chin straps, ranging from a simple band similar to the chin strap on a football helmet to something Hannibal Lecter might wear. They would keep my mouth shut, which doesn't affect my snoring.
A plastic mouth guard, also similar to the one I wore playing high school football, is supposed to keep my airway open and my tongue from interfering. It doesn't stop me from snoring and gives me that nightmare where I'm just about to receive the opening kickoff and realize I am wearing fluffy pajamas.
I recently bought a small "anti-snoring nose vent" that came with wonderful reviews. It looks like a tiny harmonica that plugs into your nose. All it did was make my snoring sound as if Bob Dylan was snoring.
The two breathing tubes don't line up with my nostrils, so it's very uncomfortable. And when it fell out and I rolled over on it, it did not change the angle of my head enough to curb the snoring.
Having exhausted my options (and my wife), I'm getting her what she really wants for Valentine's Day -- my appointment with a doctor who specializes in adult sleep.