Sleeping apart? Snoring, choking, gasping for breath, and restless sleep are some of the annoying and disruptive characteristics of a spouse that has sleep apnea. Imagine sleeping next to someone who snores as loud as a jet engine, then chokes, stops breathing for up to 90 seconds, and then hyperventilates for up to 500 times a night? On the other hand, how would you like to be poked, shoved, or awakened by your spouse all because you’re keeping them up all night with your loud snoring and restless sleep? That’s two people suffering every single night. 

One third of Americans have this life threatening condition known as obstructive sleep apnea, and a large percentage of them don’t know it, or don’t care to do anything about it…until it is too late. In many cases it is the spouse, husband or wife, that actually has to convince the affected spouse to seek treatment. This very familiar scenario is the number one reason husbands and wives sleep in separate bedrooms of on the sofa, and if ignored for too long can lead to separation or even divorce.

It is selfish and unfair for the healthy spouse to be subjected to this on a nightly basis, and the patient needs to recognize that they are not just jeopardizing the relationship with their spouse, but their overall health. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to many health conditions and can lead to them having a heart attack or stroke and die while sleeping next to their husband or wife. Would you want to wake up next to a corpse?

If your spouse says you snore, you need to respect them and allow them to get a good night of uninterrupted sleep and you need to take responsibility to seek treatment and live a healthy life for your family and yourself. Don’t be selfish, don’t be lazy, if you need help, seek it.

Help is easily available. Get screened and then tested for obstructive sleep apnea, or any possible sleep disorder. Sleep tests can now be done in the comfort of your own home versus having to go to a sleep facility. If you already have a CPAP machine and you don’t like it or use it, there is an alternative, called oral appliance therapy. This is a comfortable and non-invasive mouth piece that opens your airway while your sleeping and allows you to breathe comfortably, and prevents snoring.  It works much like the first step of opening the airway when performing CPR. It opens your airway by moving your lower jaw forward, ever so slightly. It is easy to clean and maintain and very comfortable. The best part about this device, besides a better night’s sleep, is that it will last for three years and most medical insurances cover it completely.

Do it for your relationship, your family, and most importantly, yourself. You owe it to yourself to feel more vital, stop snoring, sleep in the same bedroom as your spouse, and have a better quality of life.