I was honestly ready to divorce my husband. His snoring interrupted my sleep so badly and for so long, I moved into our guest room just to get a little peace and quiet at night. We no longer enjoyed each other’s company and were always getting in arguments, even over the most trivial of things. As much as I loved my husband, I was exhausted and emotionally drained.
But I’m here to tell you that there is light at the end of the tunnel!
My name is Charlotte, and I am 42 years old. I have been married to my husband, Oliver, for ten years. We have a seven year old daughter named Lily and a five year old son named Liam. We live in Northern Virginia with our two dogs, Rosie and Cookie.
Oliver and I have had a really great marriage. We dated all through our twenties, mostly long-distance because he enlisted in the army. We decided to postpone marriage because of his enlistment. When we were about 30, he returned from an assignment and decided he wanted to settle down with me. He was able to land a desk job that paid well. I was already working as a nurse and had my own little townhouse, so he moved in with me, we got married, and had our kids a few years later.
We were never the type of couple who argued; when you do long-distance for a while, you learn that arguing isn’t worth the time and energy. We were good at communicating in a way that respected each other, even when we were upset. Ollie has always been quiet and never got angry or upset very easily, either. It was part of the reason I fell in love with him!
Anyways, the point is we have always been a rather cool, calm, and collected family. Even when our kids were born. Of course, kids add a whole new layer to a family dynamic, but Ollie and I were adamant about focusing more on teaching good communication rather than getting overly emotional with one another. It helps that our kids turned out to have pretty subdued personalities, as well.
So, it sounds all great, right? Well, it truly was, up until last year. Oliver and I were visiting my parents and some friends up in New York with the kids, and the night after we arrived we had gone out with some of my close friends for drinks while my parents stayed with the kids. We got home late and when we got into bed, Ollie knocked out right away… and started snoring. This wasn’t a huge surprise to me because he usually snores a bit after he drinks. But the next night, he snored again. And hasn’t stopped since.
Over the course of the year, Ollie’s snoring has just gotten worse and worse, louder and more intense. So much so it completely interrupted my sleep and affected my ability to function. It would take me hours of tossing and turning before I finally succumbed to a fitful sleep. I felt myself struggling every morning to get out of bed and get the kids ready for school before going to work. I would be functioning on 4-5 hours of sleep every night. I was groggy at work, which was a huge issue. Being groggy meant it was easier to make mistakes, and you can’t make mistakes as a nurse, with people depending on you.
Really, his snoring was so loud, even the dogs migrated from sleeping in our room to sleeping in Lily’s room.
After a few months of (barely) functioning like that, I decided to start sleeping in the guest room. I could not take the incessant snoring from Oliver anymore, and he refused to do anything to try and alleviate it. He wouldn’t even try a nasal strip because the glue, apparently, irritated his skin. I was so fed up and purely exhausted I didn’t feel like pushing him. So one night, I got ready for bed as normal, waited for Ollie to fall asleep and then moved into the guest room.
That was the first time I had gotten a healthy amount of sleep in months… I felt so much of a difference I couldn’t even think about staying in bed with Oliver again, so I promptly told him I would be sleeping in the guest room until he decided to look into treatment for his snoring.
That, as you could probably imagine, really did not go well.
Of course, he was offended, and I could understand why. But I really needed him to be understanding, and for whatever reason, he wasn’t about this. Maybe it was because he could not hear for himself how bad it was, even despite it sometimes waking him up with a snort. I guess he was too deep into sleep to really remember those instances.
Either way, I was done, and I was not going back to getting five hours of sleep a night!
I truly thought Oliver would look into treatment after I stopped sleeping in our bed. He’s a snuggler and likes having someone by his side at night. So, I figured he would definitely give in within the month. But a month passed and… nothing. I supposed I had offended him so much, he was just avoiding treatment out of spite by that point.
The kids were too young to understand what was going on, but they did sense the shift of mood in their dad. He was significantly less playful with them, and snapped at them more often. He would very rarely yell at either of them, so the first time I heard him shout at Lily to leave him alone when she was asking questions about the football game he had on, I nearly lost it. That was our next big argument, and from there, it only escalated.
Ollie started giving me the cold shoulder. He would come home from work, eat dinner, and go lock himself in his room to watch TV and then go to sleep, leaving me to entertain Lily and Liam and handle practically all of the housework. I would try to talk to him about it, try to get through to him, but every time I tried ended in another argument because I would get exasperated with his bad attitude.
So, it went on like that for months, just a vicious cycle. The dynamic of our family totally changed, and I felt absolutely horrible. I was so worried about Lily and Liam and how this would affect them. I fell into somewhat of a depression, hurt by Oliver’s behavior and the drastic change in our relationship. After a year with no improvement, I was ready to drop it all, take the kids and go stay at parents for a while. I was simply astounded at how bad it had gotten.
In a desperate attempt to repair what our family had lost, I started doing research upon research on remedies for Oliver’s snoring. I had known that snoring was often a sign of sleep apnea, especially for men his age, which is why I wanted him to look for treatment so bad. I figured if I really explained the severity of the situation with him this time, perhaps, by some miracle, I could get him to go with me to a doctor or, at the very least try some home remedies.
That is when I found the website for Advanced Sleep Solutions of Virginia, and their blog. I looked through almost all of their articles, feeling a glimmer of hope at the knowledge the practice and founder, Dr. Brian Queen, clearly had about the issues of snoring and sleep apnea. I especially liked the primary treatment option they were promoting: oral appliance therapy, which was definitely less invasive than most other treatments and significantly more affordable in comparison to any other options, including a divorce that could cost upwards of ten thousand dollars.
I called the office and made an appointment for later afternoon, when I knew I could take Ollie to it myself. Then, I let him know about it. After a rather heated discussion, he finally caved and agreed to go, thankfully.
I was directed by the staff member I talked with on the phone, Kristi, to download the app Snorelab and use it to record Oliver’s snoring. She explained that the app would collect data of Ollie’s snoring patterns so that Dr. Queen could obtain a better understanding of his snoring and help him make a diagnosis. The app was free, which was wonderful, and super easy to use: I had him set it recording before he went to sleep and leave on his nightstand throughout the night.
My parents came to visit the week of the appointment and picked up Lily and Liam from school, promising them ice cream, while I went with Oliver to the appointment. When we arrived, I was super impressed by the comfort, cleanliness, and atmosphere of the office, and the service of the front desk staff. Krisit, the receptionist, was so kind and got Ollie talking about his work, putting him in a much better mood than when we first walked in.
Dr. Queen was just as impressive. He sat with us for a while, listened to both me and Ollie explain the situation we were in and the struggles we were facing due to Ollie’s snoring. Dr. Queen reviewed the data from the Snorelab app and determined that Oliver was dealing with chronic snoring. I was relieved to hear that it was not sleep apnea, as was Oliver. I think that was the primary reason he refused to seek out treatment; he was fearful of the results.
Dr. Queen assured us this could be treated and we could get back to our normal family dynamic. He set my worries at ease, which takes tremendous skill! He discussed with us the option of an oral appliance Ollie could wear while sleeping, that would push his lower jaw slightly forward and prevent the soft tissues in the back of the throat from vibrating and even any possible airway blockages.
Oliver accepted the idea pretty quickly, which I was pleasantly surprised by. We went out for dinner after the consultation, the first “date” we had in what felt like forever… I was so happy and relieved to see that maybe our marriage could be saved after all.
We made another appointment with Dr. Queen for the following week so he could get moldings to create a custom-fit oral appliance that would alleviate Ollie’s snoring. The appointment went just as smoothly as the first. We discussed the overall cost of the oral appliance, which was roughly $2,500, which was covered by insurance and there was a 5 year warranty for the device. I couldn’t help but think that was most definitely cheaper than a divorce!
Once we got the oral appliance, we were instructed to use lavender essential oil, which I bought from Doterra, and a melatonin supplement to help Ollie sleep as he adjusted to wearing the device. He assured me it was pretty comfortable, but I was determined to make sure he wore it whenever he slept to get used to it, so he wouldn’t suddenly decide to stop wearing it.
Oliver adjusted to it pretty quickly. The appliance was easy to maintain and clean, conveniently portable for when we traveled, and comfortable to use. I finally was able to move back into our room, and the first night I spent with Ollie, I didn’t hear a peep! Not even a whisper of a snore. It was a miracle.
We slowly but surely got back into our family routine. Ollie started paying more attention to the kids again and we went on regular dates and planned family vacations. We would have occasional follow-up appointments with Dr. Queen, all of which went amazingly well as usual; he quickly became one of my favorite doctors!
I am so, so grateful for what Dr. Queen was able to do for me and my family. I was ready to give up, but with his help and understanding, we were able to push through. If you’re dealing with something similar to my situation, I highly recommend scheduling an appointment with Dr. Queen, and know that there is hope!