For married couples, snoring has been a bone of contention for a long time, resulting in sleepless nights and even separation. I once read about an American woman who refused to go on a holiday with her husband, a chronic and noisy snorer, unless he booked two hotel rooms on separate floors!
Snorers, of course, are sleep wreckers. They are blissfully unaware of the racket they create and the resultant sleeplessness and annoyance of their bedfellows. Funnily enough, most people accused of snoring deny the charge. If only the snorer could hear his unmusical score, he would be shamed out of his affliction.
At the boarding school (in the 1950s) we had a chronic snorer near whom none was prepared to bed down. His snoring was a cross between the snorting of an irate bull and the grunting of a belligerent bear. He was banished to the farthest corner of the dormitory. Yet he kept us awake with his nocturnal eruptions.
One night, a few of us carried him out on his cot and deposited him on the hockey field. The outing didn’t cure him of his odious habit, but it did lower his decibel levels, allowing us to sleep that night. That the perpetrators of this plan received a merciless punishment from the warden that left them sleepless for a couple of nights is another matter.
Once while camping outdoors in Munnar with friends, I woke up around midnight to a persistent rasping. It rose to a gradual crescendo and then faded away, only to start all over again. It sounded like the laboured breathing of a leopard lurking nearby. Alarmed, I prodded my companion awake and reached for a log from the dying campfire. That was only to realise that the grating interlude was provided by our elderly tribal guide who was snoring.
Some commuters who catnap throw in a brief spell of snoring for good measure, keeping their co-passengers entertained. One did so in a bus while taking the liberty of cradling his head on my shoulder, and wrecked my nap with his all-too-vocal purring.
Then there are some who regard napping as an acceptable way to sit out a tedious sermon or lecture. But when the nap is interspersed with audible snoring, it becomes a tad unacceptable to the speaker and a source of muted amusement to the others present. I’ve witnessed two such occasions — at a church service, and at a training programme. In both cases, the speaker displayed commendable restraint in not pulling up the snorer, who later had to be nudged awake. The snorer’s embarrassment was matched only by the speaker’s dismay.
The long-suffering wife of a raucous snorer once commented, “In our bedroom, you’ll hear a tiger growl, but you’ll never see it.” Another was equally sarcastic: “We’ve been married 15 years,” she remarked, “but John still ‘serenades’ me every night.”
I sometimes imagine the scenario of two chronic snorers married. Perhaps each would unconsciously strive to outsnore the other and end up letting neither sleep.
So, is there a cure for this irritant that plagues marital life? Taping a snorer’s mouth would be the easiest way out but, quite understandably, the least acceptable to him. Anyone who comes up with an effective anti-snoring device can make quite a packet. Till then, many unfortunates are fated to toss and turn restlessly at night, and listen willy-nilly to the “lullaby”.