Sleep offers the body a chance to recover from our daily life of wear and tear. It is also like going on a mini-break, pulling us into an abyss of total relaxation and restoration, so that we can tune out and enjoy being at peace. Sleep is also a necessity that is closely linked to our quality of life.
However, for some, getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging, particularly if their bed partner is preventing them from getting a good night of rest, and they over time, become sleep deprived.
Does your bed partner snore?
Bed partners of snorers may wake up several times per hour, adding up to an hour of lost sleep every night. This effect is known as “Spousal Arousal Syndrome”, which can result in:
- waking sluggishly;
- day time exhaustion;
- trouble with paying attention to simple tasks;
- health effects such as a lowered immune system; and
Health Consequences from a Snoring Partner
The health consequences can be serious when sleep deprivation goes on for months or years. And, this is also the case of someone who is affected by a snoring spouse or partner. These health costs include:
- an increase in blood pressure;
- increased risk of dementia;
- increased risk of heart disease; or
- increased risk of kidney disease.
Did you know that loud, habitual snoring is considered noise pollution?
In a study conducted by researchers from John Hopkins University, their findings concluded that a bed partner of a loud, habitual snorer could be exposed between 50 to 80 decibels of noise during their sleep. This noise level is the equivalent of a:
- vacuum cleaner;
- garbage disposal unit; or
- food blender.
Not only is this not a pleasant experience, but there can also be permanent hearing loss due to the constant exposure over a long period of time.
Snoring Can Affect Your Relationship
As much as you love your bed partner, logically, you know they don’t want to keep you awake deliberately. However, having a partner that snores can significantly impact your relationship.
According to a national survey of 500 Australian women who sleep with a snorer, one in two claimed snoring had damaged their love life. And in this survey, two in five (40%) of women, admitted that their partner’s snoring forced them to sleep in a separate room or on the living room couch. Other findings were:
- 3 in 10 women (31%) advised that their partner’s snoring caused arguments;
- greater than 1 in 5 (21%) women blamed snoring for reduced levels of intimacy; and
- 6% of the women surveyed, advised that their partner’s snoring contributed to their relationship’s break-up.
These statistics are alarming!
Is it time to invest in ear-plugs and just ignore the stats? The answer may not be that simple.
Snoring – A Sleep Apnea (Apnoea) Predictor
It is estimated that around 5% of the Australian population suffer from sleep apnea, with men affected two times more than women. And, additionally, a large number of the Australian population remain undiagnosed.
Snoring solutions for your partner
Apart from instantly banishing your partner to another bedroom or the couch, the first approach is to let your bed partner know that they are snoring and that it is so loud that it is keeping you awake at night. They may not even realise they are snoring. Perhaps have a chat and work together on some solutions that may help them to breathe better. Solutions may include:
- decongestant nasal spray;
- nasal strips for their nose;
- anti-snoring pillow; or
- a gentle nudge so they turnover from lying on their back.
Another great tip is to purchase a white-noise machine, to help block out the ambient noises.
Be a sleep spy
If you find that these snoring solutions are not improving, take note of your partner’s breathing patterns whilst they sleep. There are many signs and symptoms of a serious sleep condition called sleep apnea, putting your partner at a greater risk of abnormal heartbeats such as atrial fibrillation, heart attack and stroke. They include:
- loud habitual snoring;
- gasping or choking sounds during the night;
- waking up more tired than before they went to bed the night before;
- morning headaches;
- having trouble concentrating through the day and inattention;
- memory problems;
- lack of sexual desire; or
Additionally, together, you can take our online Sleep Apnea Quiz so that they are alerted to your concerns, and there may be a need to take action sooner than later.
If you conclude that your partner has several of these symptoms, this is an excellent time for them to visit their local doctor for further appraisal.