We鈥檝e all seen the studies. Whether it鈥檚 caused聽by聽stress at the office, bad sleep posture聽or an uncomfortable mattress, lack of sleep poses a real problem to your health and quality of life. There are plenty of expert tips out there to help combat common sleep challenges, but what if the problem behind your limited snooze-time isn鈥檛 a thing, but a person? The not-so-silent struggle between many couples is snoring. According to psychologist and nutrition expert Johnny Bowden,聽it can cause issues both for your personal health and your relationship. What does it mean for you and your bae if one of you is a habitual snorer? We talked to Dr. Bowden to find out.

couple sleeping snoring

鈥淲hen you sleep, the muscles in your throat relax, and sometimes the tissues in the throat relax so much that they vibrate when you breathe 鈥 and boom! You鈥檙e snoring!鈥 he says. 鈥淚t can lead to problems with your sleep聽and with your sex life, both of which are very important components of a happy and healthy life.鈥

THE SNORING STRUGGLE IS REAL

It鈥檚 definitely not sexy, but snoring聽may be more common than you think. According to Dr. Bowden, 30 to 40 percent of adults would be a conservative estimate of chronic snorers. This means that over one-third of us may wind up dealing with snoring-related challenges in our relationships at some point. Dr. Bowden first realized snoring鈥檚 impact on love and romance when he worked as a personal trainer in the early years of his career in the health field.

鈥淧eople would talk to me about everything in their lives,鈥 he says. 鈥淚t always led to their relationships, their kids, their frustrations鈥 and believe me, I heard complaints about snoring on a fairly regular basis.鈥

couple sleeping snoring fight upset

Just like other sleep problems that cause tension in relationships, snoring鈥檚 primary effect on the dynamic between you and your S.O. is its tendency to keep one or both partners from聽getting enough rest.

鈥淭hink about the times when you and your significant other are testing each other鈥檚 last nerve,鈥 Dr. Bowden says. 鈥淚鈥檒l bet it鈥檚 not on days when there鈥檚 hardly any stress and everyone鈥檚 well-rested. If one partner has crummy sleep, it can have a terrible effect on the dynamics between them, and the effect can last for days.鈥

Unlike other relationship-testing sleep problems, snoring has one characteristic that makes it unique to couples. 鈥淪adly, snoring isn鈥檛 very romantic,鈥 Dr. Bowden says. 鈥淪o there鈥檚 that.鈥 Yep, so not sexy.

African American couple sleeping.

SO, HOW CAN YOU FIX SNORING ISSUES?

If snoring has driven a wedge between you and your S.O. and you鈥檙e feeling the tension (along with a heavy dose of exhaustion), keep reading for a few tips on how to approach and improve the situation.

1.聽Open the conversation.聽Your partner may be reluctant to believe that they snore, so broach聽the issue with sympathy and a sense of humor. Be gentle, and聽make sure it doesn鈥檛 sound like you鈥檙e making an accusation. If your S.O. is particularly data-driven, ask聽if they would be willing to let you record their snoring. Honesty will help get you both on the same page and allow you to move forward with a solution.

2.聽Try a muting device.聽Dr. Bowden recommends the over-the-counter product聽MUTE. 鈥淚t鈥檚 a great first step,鈥 he says. 鈥淚t鈥檚 a cool little adjustable device you wear that opens up the nasal passages like crazy.鈥澛燗dhesive nasal strips may also help alleviate the problem.

Female couple embracing on bed

3.聽Promote good health.聽According to Dr. Bowden, snoring is often made worse by excessive smoking and drinking, as well as extreme stress and allergies. If you and your S.O. are practicing a healthy lifestyle and staying on top of external factors that might intensify stress and allergies, you may be able to improve the snoring issue naturally.

4.聽Practice good sleep habits.聽Although you may have little control over your partner鈥檚 snoring, you聽can make other choices to ensure a restful night. Dr. Bowden suggests making your bedtime 30 minutes earlier every night until you鈥檙e up to your ideal number of hours of sleep. Also consider turning in before your S.O. If you鈥檙e asleep before they come to bed, their snores may be less likely to keep you awake. Other expert tips to create聽the ideal environment for sleeping? Keep the temperature in your bedroom cool, and limit screens as you鈥檙e falling asleep.

Young women sitting on bed using mobile phone, laughing

5.聽Keep a sense of humor.聽Maintaining lightness in the conversations between you and your bae about snoring will help keep tensions from running too high. The last thing you need 鈥 especially if you aren鈥檛 sleeping enough 鈥 is to add additional stress.

6.聽If all else fails, get an expert opinion.聽鈥淚f the problem persists, then I would recommend seeing a health professional,鈥 Dr. Bowden says. 鈥淚t won鈥檛 go away by itself and what you聽don鈥檛 want is for snoring to become a 鈥榯hing鈥 鈥 an issue, a bone of contention, an annoyance that builds up into resentment and, inevitably, a romance killer.鈥

How do you handle snoring in your relationship? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)