Health & Medical Sleep Disorders

Snoring and the Effects on Health and Relationships

Of course it isn't just the health of the snorer that is in question but also the partner who has to suffer the sleepless nights too.
It is likely to affect them more than the person who is making all the racket as they are not able to sleep while their partner is at least sleeping to some degree even though it may not be considered a decent quality sleep.
So is snoring dangerous? Directly no, it isn't particularly harmful for the person and doesn't lead to any medical conditions apart from a possible sore throat and dry mouth in the morning but indirectly, yes it is harmful, purely due to the lack of quality sleep and can be the cause of many emotional and physical problems for the snorer and their loved one.
Quality Sleep What do we mean by quality sleep? Well it varies from person to person but quality sleep is being able to go to bed at night and sleeping undisturbed for a minimum of six hours and then waking up in the morning feeling refreshed and knowing that you have slept well.
You wake up and don't drag yourself out of the bed but get ready in a brisk, energetic manner.
In today's world that is becoming a more of a problem mainly due to our living habits.
Late night meals, watching films into the early hours and drinking coffee just before going to bed for example are never conducive to getting good night's sleep, particularly if you have children and need to be up early in the morning for the school run.
Effects on Health As we have said earlier the act of snoring itself does not directly cause any medical problems, the primary effect on the health is how disruptive it is to the sleep pattern.
The snorer is disturbed and punctuated by many waking up episodes during the night where they briefly gasp for air, turn over and go back to sleep.
This occurs by the fact that there isn't enough oxygen getting in to the lungs and the body wakes itself up to rectify the situation.
The ability to wake itself up is inbuilt into humans and is a failsafe mechanism to stop us suffocating ourselves in our sleep.
Unfortunately this can happen several hundred times in one night so even if they have been asleep for what seems to be ten hours or more they will still wake up feeling very tired and drowsy.
This has a serious knock on effect where other mechanisms in the body start to have impaired functions.
The person's ability to concentrate will be diminished; they will feel tired obviously but possibly even fatigued, performance in the workplace will be less than their maximum potential, nodding off when resting or at a work break, possibly a craving for sugary snacks or energy drinks to wake up and may have started to gain weight.
This can lead to raised blood pressure, anxiety, depression, a feeling of being overwhelmed and an increased risk of diabetes.
If left untreated then it can become more serious and lead to the condition known as sleep apnea.
This is the rather serious problem of where the body stops breathing for several seconds due to an obstruction at the back of the throat which is usually the tongue or the soft palate.
Sleep apnea can be the cause of heart failure, strokes and fatal car accidents by falling asleep at the wheel.
It is imperative to see a doctor or a sleep specialist if you snore consistently or suffer from sleep apnea.
The Effect on Relationships It's the noise that does it, how can anyone sleep next to what is an equivalent to a vacuum cleaner or a pneumatic drill going off several hours a night.
Even if the snorer is relatively quiet it is likely that they will frequently turn over and disturb their partner.
What is worse for the partner is if the snorer doesn't even wake themself up and is able to sleep through it, they may not see it as a particularly major problem, in fact the National Sleep Foundation discovered that 24% of couples affected by snoring did not want to discuss it, so it is still considered as a taboo subject for many.
Usually the first strain on a relationship is the decision to sleep in separate rooms, even if it's on the couch.
Once that happens then the relationship has lost the intimacy and there will be a barrier between couples.
Sex will be virtually non-existent and irritability and loss of patience with each other will start to creep in.
There will be resentment from the partner especially if the snorer is not accepting of the problem and ultimately this will lead to increased arguments and lack of faith in each other.
In Australia a study was performed by Fisher and Paykel Healthcare who questioned five hundred women and the study found that six per cent of the relationships broke up because of their partner's snoring with thirty per cent admitting to snoring being the cause of many arguments.
This is quite tragic considering the wealth of information out there to help people and the huge number of anti-snoring devices that are available to buy.
Many of these devices do work and have been tried and tested by many sufferers and there are plenty of products that are inexpensive to buy.
It is estimated that a staggering ninety million American adults are affected by snoring at some time in their lives and thirty million on a regular basis, this goes to prove that snoring is still considered something to be mocked or kept quiet about, there is not enough adults seeking treatments and that can lead to many miserable nights for many couples.

Leave a reply