How Secondhand Snoring Affects Relationships
Sleep should make you feel refreshed and rested, not groggy and craving more sleep. However, if you're one of the many people who snores -- or who has a snoring bed partner -- then sleep may not be making you feel as good as it should. The causes of snoring are sometimes temporary, but in many cases, they're long term. And, if left untreated, even the non-snorer, the one with a snoring bed partner, can wind up experiencing lasting and unfortunate effects. Here’s a look at some of the ways that snoring can take a toll on relationships.
Increased Mental and Emotional Stress
Sleep's effect on your ability to handle stress and stay calm is becoming more and more recognized. If you don't get enough sleep for days or weeks on end, you can become snappish and less understanding of problems. Now turn that into two partners suffering from sleep deprivation, and the result will likely include more arguing and more rash decision making. The increased potential for fights can lead to more strain on relationships at best, if not an actual break-up or divorce.
More than a quarter of Americans recently confessed that a snoring bed partner makes them annoyed or angry, with one in five saying a snoring partner could drive them out of bed. – via Sleep Review
Separate Sleeping Arrangements
Couples sometimes try to solve the snoring problem by sleeping in separate rooms. This can be a temporary or permanent solution, and some couples find it works well. Yet for others, a subtle resentment in each partner may develop. A partner who is kicked out into another room because he or she snores might feel exiled; a partner who voluntarily leaves for another room might feel put upon. The person remaining in the bedroom -- regardless of whether he or she is the one who snores -- could subconsciously feel abandoned, even if the sleeping arrangement was mutually agreed upon. Of course, all that just leads to more stress on the relationship.
Increased Risk of Injury or Death
Couples who try to tough it out can still find themselves at a dangerous disadvantage. A lack of sleep due to snoring leads to daytime fatigue -- a grave concern if you have to drive or perform crucial tasks like construction work or medical procedures. The legal and physical implications of trying to drive while drowsy or function around heavy machinery while half asleep can end even the strongest relationships. Simply put, drowsiness can lead to injury or death for you or others around you.
Proper Diagnosis and Treatment
Whether you snore or you have a snoring bed partner, you need to see a doctor immediately to diagnose why you are snoring. A common cause is sleep apnea, but you could also have an underlying infection contributing to the problem. Proper diagnosis will lead to proper treatment.
Several Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea
If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, you have several options. The continuous positive airway pressure machine, or CPAP, is the initial treatment; scores of people do well with this therapy, but it can take time to find the right style of mask and the right placement for the machine, which does produce noise. Unfortunately, CPAP may work for the snorer, but the machine's motor may interfere with the non-snorer's sleep.
Another treatment is an oral appliance that the snorer wears while sleeping. With sleep apnea, your airway can be obstructed for a number of reasons. Air can still sometimes be forced through, resulting in the snoring sound. The appliance holds the jaw in a certain position that helps prevent airway collapse.
If CPAP or oral appliances aren't working, it's time to look at more permanent options. An example is Pillar Procedure, a minimally invasive procedure that stiffens the soft palate through the insertion of tiny implants. These implants support the tissue in the soft palate and reduce the vibrations causing snoring.
Another option is radio frequency ablation of the tongue base. As the name suggests, the tissue at the base of the tongue is reduced so that there is less tissue that can collapse and block your airway while asleep.
Additional surgical options are available. However, because they are surgical, you must be evaluated by a qualified doctor first to determine whether you are a candidate for treatment.
If you or a loved one suffers from snoring -- don't wait to see how the snoring plays out. Take the first step to sleeping better and living better by scheduling a consultation with an eos sleep doctor.