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Happily Ever After – Can a Snoring Spouse Impact a Marriage?

February 6, 2013

According to a current medical study being conducted in Chicago, in some relationships, the honeymoon stage can be over before it even begins. The aftermath of second hand snoring can bring a whole new perspective to the vow “until death do us part.” Just ask any wife who’s ready to rip out the throat of her snoring husband. At that point, it will take more than marriage counseling to amend the relationship.

Let’s take a look at the troubled relationship a little more extensively. The husband snores like a bat out of hell, his wife pokes him throughout the night to flip over, and this happens anywhere from a few times a night, to a few times an hour throughout the night. The process starts off gentle but after months (or years in the making) the tender nudging can turn into something much more aggressive. Formerly recognized as the mattress of love, a couple’s bed can quickly turn into a warzone of hostility and resentment.

 

This leads us to a few questions: Is there a link between quality of sleep and marital contentment? What are the effects of sleep deprivation on both the snorer and the bed partner? Furthermore, is the snoring an indication of a greater health issue?

In monitoring one couple’s nighttime sleep, the husband’s snoring was arousing the wife out of sleep over 8 times an hour! Recent medical studies indicate the significance of the snoring spouse’s sleep deprivation and the effect it has on his/her health. Therefore, when additional surveys came back indicating that couples in these situations have a higher divorce rate, we weren’t surprised.

 

Even bigger than the troubled, increased divorce rate are the consequences of untreated sleep apnea on a person’s health. We now know that snoring is a large indicator for sleep apnea but what is sleep apnea? According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, “sleep apnea is an involuntary cessation of breathing that occurs while somebody is asleep. Episodes without breathing can last 10 seconds to 2 minutes or longer and a person can have up to hundreds of episodes per night.”

Sleep apnea is a serious health issue. It lowers the oxygen level in the blood, which leaves a person susceptible to major health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and many others. Symptoms of sleep apnea can range from: waking up feeling un-refreshed problems with memory or concentration, feeling tired or fatigued, experiencing personality changes, headache, heartburn, sweating or chest pain while sleeping, and depression. 

If the troubled marital relationship sounds like one you know and you’re wondering about the first steps for treatment, start thinking about testing. A sleep test (either in the lab or at home) is needed along with a physician’s diagnose to determine if sleep apnea is at play.

 

When a person is diagnosed with sleep apnea, it’s important to understand the treatment options, such as weight loss, surgery, CPAP mask, or an oral appliance (similar to a mouth guard). With proper treatment for sleep apnea, snoring is also minimized.  In addition, the spouse’s sleep deprivation lessens significantly along with the feelings of hostility, aggravation and many times marital distress.

If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms, (or a consequently troubled relationship), please seek testing and medical help immediately!

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