If you have a partner who snores it will come as no surprise to learn researchers say you’re losing sleep over it.
It’s true that sleeping with a snorer can take a toll on your health. People who sleep next to snorers report high levels of fatigue and sleepiness and may even be at higher risk for hearing loss.
Often, snoring is due to obstructive sleep apnea, which is characterized by episodes of interrupted breathing during sleep, which leads to regular nighttime awakenings linked with a number of health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, weight gain, and stroke.
Studies show that the person with sleep apnea isn’t the only one waking up or suffering from sleep deprivation. When the apnea is accompanied by loud snorts and snoring, the bed partner may wake up as often during the night as the person with the actual sleep disorder. One study from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., found that spouses of snorers woke up, at least partially, an average of 21 times an hour, nearly as often as the 27 times the snorers were awakened by their sleep apnea episodes.
According to a British study by the British Snoring and Sleep Apnea Association (BSSAA), people with partners who snore lose two hours of sleep a night and if the average relationship last 24 years then that loss will add up to two years.
The study also found that snoring affected relationships, as partners of snorers suffered from a loss of sleep and felt upset and frustrated with their loved one.
“If you continually lose sleep due to a partner snoring you build up a sleep debt and if you don’t catch up you end up with chronic sleep deprivation. People that are sleep deprived are more likely to have a car accident, experience marital disharmony and they don’t perform as well when at work,” says Dr. Rod Willey of the Koala Center for Sleep Disorders.
Treatment options for snoring and/or sleep apnea may include lifestyles changes, surgery, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and oral appliance therapy.
Oral Appliance Therapy has proven to be a very viable and scientifically based treatment option for Snoring and/or Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a statement in the 2006 journal SLEEP that Oral Appliance Therapy was approved as the first line of treatment for those suffering from mild to moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea and in many cases proving to be effective, in many cases, for severe sleep apnea as well. “The purpose of the oral appliance is to hold the jaw in a position that allows the airway to remain as open and firm as possible during sleep,” says Dr. Willey. “Oral appliances are similar to athletic mouth guards, but less bulky and completely non-invasive,” he continues. Oral sleep appliances are covered by most medical insurances and Medicare.