Sleep Apnea and Your Relationship
Having a bed partner suffer through night after night of snoring and gasping sounds can take a toll on the relationship of the person who doesn’t wake up intermittently with these issues. If a relationship is strained, sleep apnea might be the cause. In many cases, the non-snorer experiences the same health consequences as the sleep apnea sufferer. Healthy sleeping patterns and nighttime behavior are vital to maintaining a solid relationship. Once the problems have been identified by the non-snoring partner, since they are the person in the duo being kept awake during the night, getting the help needed is recommended to save the relationship. A sleep apnea dentist or specialist is key to overcoming future health risks of snoring, and to continue on a path of positive steps in bedtime comfort with your partner.
What Exactly is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder, in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly. It occurs when the muscle present at the back of the throat relaxes too much, or having a small airway, or also having a large tongue. Lifestyle changes for the moderate sufferers are recommended, however, for those who have severe symptoms, there are sleep solutions to explore.
Major symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Restless sleep
- Morning headaches
- Decreased interest in sex
- Waking up with dry mouth or a sore throat
- Sleepiness or lack of energy during daytime
- Mood changes
Each of the above can directly impact your relationship. The three main types of sleep apnea present challenges for the bed partner, however with therapies and professionalism treatment there are solutions. These sleep disorders include:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – the most common type, which can cause daytime sleepiness, snoring, depression, difficulties with concentration, and loss of memory.
- Central sleep apnea (CSA) – a sleep-related disorder in which the effort to breathe is diminished or absent for 10-30 seconds during sleep.
- Complex sleep apnea – a distinct form of sleep-disordered breathing characterized as CSA, and is present in OSA patients using the CPAP device, or continuous positive airway pressure.
The Big Picture
The lack of sleep can wreak havoc on sex, relationships, and your social life. Typically, by the time sleep apnea patients seek help, they are no longer sleeping with their partners. The person having trouble sleeping often develops elaborate routines over time, and will try anything to not disturb the sleep of their bed partner.
Not surprisingly, sleeping in separate bedrooms doesn’t bode well for marriage or long-term commitments. Chronic sleep loss can lead to low energy, fatigue, and a decreased interest in sex. This combination of low energy and increased tension caused by lack of sleep can also lead to sexual dysfunction.
Men and women respond differently, however. Men with obstructive sleep apnea commonly report low libidos and sexual activity, usually associated with lower testosterone levels in some men due to OSA. Women, on the other hand, have mood swings and hormonal changes when a good night’s sleep is missing.
Obesity rises when solid sleep goes by the wayside, which exacerbates a woman’s grumpiness. Both men and women become quarrelsome and less able to cope with life’s ups and downs. This can impact their interactions as spouses, friends, or partners.
To alleviate couples turning into estranged bedfellows, there is encouraging sleep therapy to solve the sleep-loss issues. When a couple sees how insomnia has become a dividing factor in their relationship, pursuing treatment is the next step. Dr. Mensah at Integrative Family Dentistry has all the tools and guidance to turn your relationship around. One visit, one consultation, and a willingness on both bed partners will restore not only a decent night’s sleep, but can revive overall health and happiness for each person.