Tossing and turning at night, waking up gasping for air, or snoring; these are common sleep problems that negatively affect the health of approximately 70 million Americans. But should that number be doubled? Because, in many cases, poor sleep is also affecting the partner that shares the bed of a sufferer.
Chances are, these symptoms could be a sign of a sleeping disorder like Sleep Apnea. It’s important that a loved one notices these signs and convinces their significant other to contact a doctor. In some instances, sleeping disorders can lead to long-term health consequences, such as weakened immunity, high blood pressure, weight gain, an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease, among many others.
And in the short-term, having a partner with an irregular sleeping pattern can seriously disrupt a relationship.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
“Sleep Apnea refers to a range of disorders, but the most common is Obstructive Sleep Apnea when your throat muscles repeatedly relax and block airways during sleep. When the soft tissues in your throat, such as your tongue and soft palate, temporarily relax, your airway is narrowed or closed, and breathing is momentarily cut off.” (Mayo Clinic)
The symptoms of sleep apnea are visible at night. While sleeping, you may notice that your partner does some or all of the following:
- Makes gasping noises, snorts, or makes choking noises
- Wakes themselves up, sometimes coughing
- Snores loudly
- Breathes irregularly or sometimes stops altogether for short amounts of time
Symptoms are often visible during the day as well. These symptoms could include:
- Being overtired
- Lack of focus
- Irritability or even moods swinging from high to low
Sleep Apnea won’t stop and could cause severe issues if not diagnosed and treated, but some people are sensitive when it comes to talking about their sleep habits.
Discussing Your Concerns With Your Partner
Once you’ve assessed that your partner suffers from these symptoms, it’s time to take action. Sleep concerns can often feel like a sensitive, sometimes personal topic. But discussing them is necessary for the health of your partner, yourself, and your relationship. Try to bring up the topic of sleep at a good time (not in the middle of the night!) when both people can be rational.
Remember, you can’t fix sleep apnea overnight. Be mindful of the situation and acknowledge that a lack of sleep will affect a person’s mood during the day. These sleep disturbances are entirely unintentional.
Record the Disturbance
If you’re just not getting through to your partner, it may be a useful idea to record their sleeping habits so that you can replay the disturbance as proof of a problem. Please avoid recording your partner without permission; this will only increase the tension in a relationship and possibly close off any chances of having an open conversation.
Put Your Needs First
When it comes to your sleep needs, it’s important to be a little selfish. You can be supportive without sharing a bed. If your partner’s sleeping disorder is taking its toll on your health, it might be time for one of you to sleep in a different room. You can still keep the intimacy alive in your relationship by spending plenty of time with each other before you part ways for the night, though!
Advanced Homecare is here to help! Since opening as a small team of three back in 2005, our mission is to provide the very best sleep apnea treatments for our patients.
We specialize in one-on-one relationships. Our office team members and Patient Care Instructors are committed to educating their patients about their condition and understanding each patient’s specific needs.
We’re proud of what we do. Learn how we can help treat your Sleep Apnea by calling us to set up a consultation now: 1-800-758-7571