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Secondhand snoring almost killed my neighbor.

A year ago, I ran the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim. The North Rim wasn’t open yet this year so last month I hiked with a neighbor down South Kaibab and up the Bright Angel Trail.

Last year I had a blast running the ~26 miles with 5,000 feet of climb. This year, we hiked around 17 miles with ~4k feet of incline…and I got so damn sick afterward.

Allow me to explain…

I don’t share hotel rooms with people. It’s just not something I do. Ever.

My neighbor organized the trip. I was unaware that he booked us in the same hotel room on the night before we descended into the Canyon. I’ve never gotten creepy vibes from him. Sure, it’s a little weird but I’m just going to sleep, shower, and head out. 

Lights out around 9pm and then the situation devolved from awkward to disastrous.

He snored like a grizzly bear riding a freight train around an AC/DC concert. It was. So. Loud. And it was nonstop, like it was playing on a loop. It was ceaseless, unending, and Spinal Tap loud.

I didn’t hear any obvious apneic events, but around 2:30am after laying there for 5 hours listening to the Concerto Uvula Battering in C#, I seriously considered ending…nevermind.

Finally, it was time to leave. He was jovial, excited about the trip, and prattling about how well he slept. Literally, I did not sleep one minute. I’m completely serious and I have the Apple Watch sleep data receipts to prove it.

After about 2 hours of hiking, the feeling of the sublime was crushed by sleep deprivation. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t drink, and the day was getting hotter and hotter. I was irritable.

12 Step programs counsel against H.A.L.T. which stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. I had a full house. I epitomized all 4 of those undesirable states. Each time I took a bite of food, I felt sick, and I couldn’t go to sleep alongside the Colorado River, so I focused on the A and the L in the H.A.L.T. acronym. Mindset. Meditate on the beautiful scenery. Express gratitude that my body can tackle this challenge. Center on appreciation for my friends and family.

Nope, not today…

Fueled by anger and a biological yearning to sleep, I marched through the Canyon giving Sir Snore-A-Lot the cold shoulder which was easy to do even as the temps topped out at 100 degrees.

During the final, grueling ascent, I rocketed out of there in misery. Then, off to sleep. Hours later, I woke up dehydrated, with a fever, and a sore throat unlike anything I’d ever experienced. It lasted nearly a week. I was pretty sure I was going to croak. I’m only partially joking.

Like all things, it passed, and I lived to tell about it.

After regaining my ability to function normally, I saw my neighbor walking his dogs. He recounted what a great time he had and invited me to do it again next year. No. Hell no.

I told him about his snoring and my subsequent sickness. He said, “That’s weird, I slept just fine. Maybe it was just the pillow.”

While I’m unsure what impact it’s having on his health, his snoring certainly had an impact on mine. I can only imagine the friction this causes for so many relationships.

The sitcom jokes about snoring and annoyed bed partners really aren’t funny. Snoring is not a laughing matter. See your doctor. Encourage your bed partner to do so if they snore. You might be saving their lives from sleep disordered breathing or a sleep-deprived murderous hiker.

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