DEAR ABBY: I'm writing in response to the letter from "Teresa in Daytona, Fla." (Jan. 14), who said she loves her husband dearly in the daytime, but at night she'd like to file for divorce. She said that the night before she wrote you, she'd had a nightmare that a growling animal was stalking her and awoke to find the noise was coming from him.
The same problem existed in my marriage -- but I was the problem, not my husband. I am a young wife and former snorer who underwent a sleep study at a sleep disorder clinic in order to appease my husband. The data collected from the sleep study led to procedures on my nose, tonsils and tongue that not only cured the snoring, but also improved my overall quality of life. -- QUIET SLEEPER IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR QUIET SLEEPER: Bless you for sharing the solution to your problem. The letters I received from readers who identified with "Teresa" and wanted to offer help were varied and enlightening. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: My husband snores so loud that he can be heard from the other side of the house. Sleeping in one of the other bedrooms isn't an option for me simply because, "ahem," we are married.
I have found that disposable 32-decibel earplugs, the kind that are used for shooting handguns and can be found in almost any sporting goods section or store, make for a more peaceful night's rest. (The 32-decibel is the highest range I have found.) They're made of a soft, comfortable foam, are very inexpensive and they have saved me countless sleepless nights and grouchy mornings. -- TAMMY IN CROWLEY, TEXAS
DEAR ABBY: My husband snores like Teresa's. For years I was awakened repeatedly throughout the night. I kept getting sick with colds and flu, which grew more severe. I became less effective at work and almost lost my job.
I now use a hearing protection headset I bought at an industrial safety store. (It's the kind worn by the workers on airport runways while they guide the jet planes to the dock.) Snoring and jet airplane engines are in about the same sound range, and the headset cuts 90 to 95 percent of the noise.
They cost about $60 and take some getting used to, but an added advantage is they also eliminate being awakened by garbage trucks, traffic noise or noisy people in hotel hallways. -- SLEEPING WELL NOW IN STOCKTON
DEAR ABBY: May I offer my two cents to Teresa with the snoring spouse? If he doesn't have sleep apnea, as she says, then he should ask his dentist about a "snore guard."
I have been providing this service to my patients for several years, after making one for my stepfather. My mother suffered for years with his snoring until I made one for him.
The procedure is simple and painless. The dentist takes impressions (or molds) of the patient's teeth and sends them to a laboratory, which then fabricates the guard. It's a clear plastic device that covers the patient's teeth, similar to the ones worn by patients who clench or grind their teeth at night. -- DR. CAROLINE C. IN ILLINOIS
DEAR ABBY: Please tell Teresa to take her husband to a doctor immediately. My husband snored loudly; I thought nothing of it. Then my co-worker's husband died of sleep apnea. I dragged my husband to the doctor, and per the specialists at Stanford Hospital, he had the worst case in recorded medical history. They said it was a miracle he was still alive. Please urge Teresa -- not just advise -- that she run, not walk, her husband to a doctor. -- THANKFUL I DID IN DAVIS, CALIF.