The complaints that spouses have about their snoring partners have been in the main ignored for too many years. The reason for this might be that many a snorer is unaware of the implications for either party. He (or she) might be ashamed and in denial and the revelation seen as a kind of betrayal bringing acute embarrassment. He may not realise he has options that can effectively resolve the condition. The truth is that underlying this very disruptive affliction, are compromised health conditions for both snorer and spouse. It is essential for both parties that a plan of action is set up. The facts are severe enough to spur immediate action.
YOUR SNORING AND THE HEALTH OF YOUR SPOUSE
According to one study, spouses of snorers partially wake up, on an average of 21 times per hour. Consequentially, the sleep cycles that are crucial to hormonal balance, muscular recovery and general cellular repair are not able to fulfil their primary functions. Long-term, this poses huge problems for both snorer and spouse alike. With that in mind, it is surprising that the awareness of the effect of the snorer’s nighttime sounds on his (or her) spouse is only recently becoming mainstream.
Sleeping next to a snorer may also actually cause damage to hearing. The fact that hearing damage takes place in the bed partner of the snorer is not surprising. Research shows that the internal vibration in the inner ear can be intense enough to damage even the snorer’s hearing! Hearing specialists often diagnose partners with partial deafness in the ear that ‘rests’ closest to the offending noise
A study done in the UK has shown that it is not the source of the noise that matters. The decibel volume is the crucial factor. The average snore is about forty decibels which are similar to the level of noise you would hear in a library when someone is whispering close-by
A grandmother living in Britain is the country’s loudest snorer. Her snores register at over one hundred decibels which is louder than a jackhammer!
Sleep deprivation prevents your spouse’s immune system from building up its defenders. If she doesn’t get enough sleep, her body will not be able to fend off invaders as effectively. It may also take her longer to recover from illness. Frequent and prolonged infections are therefore not uncommon.
Blood pressure increases with under five to six hours of sleep per night. Sleep helps the body regulate the hormones that cause stress. Consequently, a lack of rest amplifies the effects of stress on the body. Chronic sleep deprivation links to increased blood pressure and a higher resting heart rate. As a result, the heart is under unnecessary strain. Being a vital organ, this is problematic on many levels! Furthermore, blood pressure rises as decibels increase. With every 10 decibel increase in volume, there is a 14% elevation of blood pressure.
Bearing this in mind, it is not surprising that your spouse’s sleep deficiency leads to an increased risk of fatal cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks and stroke.
Another side effect that your spouse can be experiencing is the rapid weight gain typical of bad sleepers. It is due to an interruption of the therapeutic activity of the different stages of sleep. Accordingly, hormone regulation merely is far from optimal which is far more serious an issue than daily mood swings. Hormonal balance governs hundreds of processes in the body on a moment by moment basis.
The increased stress resulting from utter exhaustion also leads to the comfort eating of carbohydrates and sugars. Furthermore, an excess of ghrelin becomes the norm which increases appetite. Long term, the inability to sleep well affects metabolism, strength and stamina. The combination of imbalanced hormones, unwise eating habits and a lack of physical exercise is disastrous over time.
Your spouse’s lack of sleep can also lead to the development of type 2 diabetes since there is a disruption in the processing of glucose which is used for fuel to produce insulin.
Sleep disorders have a severely detrimental impact on fertility levels since reproductive hormones are also completely out of balance. Frequently getting fewer than seven hours of sleep lowers both testosterone production and ovulation triggering hormones.
Memory and mental skills suffer due to the constant interruptions of the sleep cycle. There is also evidence to support the risk of Alzheimer’s and other diseases of the brain.
THE EMOTIONAL WELLBEING OF YOUR SPOUSE AND DIVORCE
Lack of sleep in your spouse decreases cognitive function and leads to irritability, anxiety and even depression.
It is no wonder that many snoring couples resort to sleeping apart. As a temporary solution, this is purely practical and can save a marriage. At the same time, It is imperative that the couple take action to address the condition together adequately. As long as the decision is a harmonious one, immediate improvement is evident. One of you will be sleeping more soundly and beginning to feel the benefits. A study in Switzerland, researchers discovered that even one good night’s sleep makes a difference to the week.
Sleeping apart long term, however, leads to emotional distancing and feelings of disconnection, rejection, loneliness and ultimately estrangement and divorce. Not surprisingly, snoring is estimated to be the third most common cause of divorce in the United States and Great Britain. Snoring is taken seriously in court during divorce cases. During the proceedings, it is considered one of the first types of “unreasonable behaviour” which result in divorce.
At the University of California, researchers evaluated how poor quality of sleep hurts marital relationships. The psychologist and lead investigator on the team, Amie Gordon, verified that poor sleep makes people more selfish since they put their own needs first over those of their partners. The data suggest that disrupted sleep creates deep rifts between partners. The National Sleep Foundation ascertained that approximately twelve percent of married couples with snoring issues sleep alone.
They also noted that levels of fulfilment in marriage are synonymous with the ability to sleep well. In a situation where a bed partner is being disturbed by the other snoring, physical intimacy is also affected. In marriages where sleep is a problem, there is often a decrease both in libido and sexual activity. A condition of physical estrangement leads to emotional separation and visa-versa. The lasting consequences of this alone are enough to lead to a couple drifting apart.
THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THIS TUNNEL
Once you can admit that you are a snorer you have begun the journey that will take you both through the tunnel and out the other side. Acknowledge that it is this habit that is in the central keeping your partner awake night after night. Giving the gift of validation to your long-suffering partner makes an enormous difference in the relationship. Communication can now improve. Naturally, both parties clearly understand that snoring is not intentional.
The next step is to ensure that both your partner and yourself get a full examination with a health professional of your choice. The reason for her is to ascertain the extent of the damage sustained. The results give her much needed clarity. She can make an informed decision as to her desired course of treatment. Your exam is to determine the cause of your snoring as well as the extent of the damage that is causing it. From there on you choose both your long-term and immediate courses of action. You will almost definitely have to make lifestyle changes as well. Meanwhile, rest assured that there are many non-surgical, in-office and minimally invasive treatments available to snorers to immediately and effectively address the issue.
Once you have ascertained the real cause, you can remedy it with one of the technologically advanced products available on the market today. There are quite a plethora of solutions offered. Amongst the choices, you as the snorer has at your disposal are CPAP devices, cost-effective mouthpieces, dentally fitted devices and even surgery. There are enough options to suit your individual needs regarding suitability, comfort as well as cost. Do not just desperately dive into the first solution on offer. It is a long-term investment so take the time to think carefully. Discuss the options with your spouse. After all, you are in this together as a team.
On the lighter side, you can go to another extreme and build a snoratorium like Tom Cruise did while married to Katy Holmes. Judge Judy had one made for her husband and herself since they both snored. Another option that research has brought to the light is that the action of playing the didgeridoo strengthens the muscles of the upper airways in both the mouth and the throat. The muscles become firm and do not collapse anymore. A didgeridoo originates from the Australian Aboriginees. Naturally, this is not an instant solution.
Finally ending the snoring means a happier spouse and a happier you. Logically speaking it has the potential of completely altering the course of your married life. However, since snoring is in itself indicative of health issues, it is imperative that you make the required lifestyle changes that are required for you to enjoy a long and healthy life. These include addressing obesity issues, eliminating alcohol consumption, stopping smoking and generally becoming fit and healthy. Choosing the more wholesome lifestyle option is always beneficial to both physical and emotional wellbeing.
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