Did you know that having a regular bed partner can improve your quality of sleep?
Unfortunately this is only the case in the absence of snoring. Anyone who has slept with a person who snores knows it can disrupt his or her sleep. In a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 41% of respondents rated their partner’s snoring as having a big impact on their ability to get a good night’s sleep in the past two weeks.
Second-hand snoring can cause the bed-partner to suffer the same daytime sleepiness problems that their snoring partner experiences which may lead to marital disharmony.
Bed partners of snorers may wake up several times per hour, which can add up to an hour of sleep lost every night. This effect, known as "Spousal Arousal Syndrome", results in bed partners waking up tired and irritable and leads to deterioration of relationships, depression and other adverse health consequences.
Research in 2003 showed that the bed-partners of snorers may experience noise-induced hearing loss over time. The effect of the noise on a sleeping partner of a snorer can also raise blood pressure in direct relation to the intensity of the noise. High blood pressure is a known risk factor for stroke, heart disease, kidney disease and dementia.
Many couples resort to sleeping in separate bedrooms and some even have homes designed to accommodate a noisy snorer. This undesirable situation is sometimes referred to as "sleep divorce".
Living with a snorer can strain even the most dedicated relationship. When a spouse is disturbed by snoring, he or she will move to a separate bedroom. If you sleep in separate rooms, even Viagra won't help.
Speaking of Viagra, there is a relationship that's rarely talked about - that's the relationship between snoring, sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction (ED).
An article (3) published in the Journal of Urology in March 2008 reported that treatment of sleep apnea improves erectile function and recommended that physicians consider co-existing sleep disorders when evaluating patients with ED. In an article published in the same journal in May of 2006 (4), the authors state that men with sleep apnea syndrome have a significant risk of erectile dysfunction and the severity of the sleep apnea correlates strongly with the severity of the erectile dysfunction.
So there does seem to be a substantiated relationship between ED and sleep apnea. Will treating sleep apnea "cure" ED? It depends on the cause of the dysfunction. According to a study by Dr. A. Hoekema and his group, (5) untreated apnea patients with pronounced ED do show improvement following both CPAP and oral appliance therapy.
Many couples want nothing more than the comfort of sleeping with their mate, but are just unable to tolerate the noise and disruption of snoring.
Studies show that when the snoring or sleep apnea of one partner is treated, the bed-partner's sleep quality is improved leading to better health. One study showed that when symptoms were treated, their partners’ sleep efficiency increased by 13%. Other studies demonstrate that the partner's mood, daytime alertness, quality of life and personal relationship with the snorer is improved when the snoring is resolved.
If your partner’s snoring is keeping you up and putting a strain on your relationship, you are not alone. Snoring isn’t sexy, but there are steps you can take to stop the snoring and bring sexy back.
Talk to your partner about the potential seriousness of the problem and get him/her to a physician or dentist trained to recognize and treat snoring and sleep apnea problems. Realize, of course, that there may be denial, and perhaps embarrassment on the part of your partner.
Before you seek treatment for snoring, it’s important to rule out any sleep breathing disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea that may be the real cause of the snoring. Usually, it's the bed partner who notices the signs of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea usually interrupts loud snoring with a period of silence followed by a loud gasp. Treating only the symptom of snoring in an individual with sleep apnea can be extremely dangerous.
Since it is not always easy to tell just from their snoring patterns, it is important to also review the common symptoms of sleep apnea to check for signs.
If snoring, sleep apnea, and their related side effects are negatively affecting your relationship with your bed partner, oral appliance therapy has the potential to provide you and your bed partner with the quiet, peaceful sleep necessary to sleep better- together. Get started now with a consultation with your sleep physician or your sleep apnea trained dentist.
1. Source: Vancouver Sleep and Breathing Center, Pediatrics, BBC News, Date Verified: 7.28.2013
2. The effect of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea on the sleep quality of bed partners. Beninati, W., Harris, C.D., Herold, D.L., et al. Sleep Disorders Center, Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 1999 Oct; 74(10): 955-8.⤴
3. The effects of acute sleep restriction and extension on sleep efficiency. Levine, B., Lumley, M., Roehrs, T., et al. Henry Ford Hospital Sleep Disorders and Research Center, Detroit, MI. The International Journal of Neuroscience. 1988 Dec; 43(3-4): 139-43⤴
4. Jankowski JT, Seftel AD, Strohl KP, Erectile dysfunction and sleep related disorders. J Urol (2008 Mar) 179(3):837-41
5. Teloken PE, Smith EB, Lodowsky C, Freedom T, Mulhall JP, Defining association between sleep apnea syndrome and erectile dysfunction. Urology (2006 May) 67(5):1033-7
6. Hoekema A, Stel AL, Stegenga B, van der Hoeven JH, Wijkstra PJ, van Driel MF, de Bont LG. Sexual function and obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea: a randomized clinical trial evaluating the effects of oral-appliance and continuous positive airway pressure therapy. J Sex Med (2007 Jul) 4(4 Pt 2):1153-62
7. Perimenis P, Konstantinopoulos A, Karkoulias K, Markou S, Perimeni P, Spyropoulos K. Sildenafil combined with continuous positive airway pressure for treatment of erectile dysfunction in men with obstructive sleep apnea. Int Urol Nephrol (2007) 39(2):547-52
Custom dental appliances for sleep apnea are covered by most medical insurance companies and Medicare.