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Health & Sex

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5 Couples Reveal: "The Extreme Ways We Saved Our Marriages"

"He went to a sleep laboratory."

Jamesha Edwards, 30, and Lionel Edwards, 39; married 1 year;
Pottstown, PA

Jamesha: I always knew Lionel had a snoring problem, but I didn't know how severe it was because we didn't live together before our wedding. His body actually shook in his sleep, and I would toss and turn all night. I finally had to sleep in a different room, which I hated. We were newlyweds and already sleeping apart!

The cause of his snoring was sleep apnea, and it was so bad that he was exhausted all the time; he would fall asleep during dinner, at church, at the movies, even when he was driving! I was terrified he was going to kill himself, me, or someone else.

One day, we saw a billboard for the sleep center at University Services of North Philadelphia. I told him he needed to go or I didn't think I could stay in the marriage. He had to stay overnight, and the doctors told us the next day that he could actually die from his sleep apnea; he literally would stop breathing, and being deprived of oxygen for a long enough time could kill him. The team fitted him with a CPAP machine, a mask he wears at night that forces air into his lungs. It took some getting used to, but now he's finally getting enough rest — and I am too. I went from cranky wife to sweet wife, and we are normal newlyweds, happy and in love.

Lionel: We had only been married a few months when I started wondering if Jamesha was going to leave me. I remember one night she woke me up a few times to get me to roll over because I was snoring so loud. The third time she said, "If you don't stop snoring, I'm going to punch you in your stomach!" Outbursts like that were so out of character for her that I knew it was really serious. I got out of bed and slept in a chair so she could sleep.

Another night, I was coming home from work, and I was exhausted. I started dozing and ran a woman off the road. I woke up to her beeping her horn. If she hadn't honked, I could have killed her or myself. That experience made me realize that life is short and I didn't want to be taken that way. When Jamesha put her foot down and said I had to get tested, I agreed.

At the sleep lab, I was diagnosed with the most severe case of sleep apnea the doctors there had ever seen. With the CPAP machine they gave me, my wife can now sleep beside me, and I can get through a full day — and a movie — without nodding off. This treatment literally saved my marriage and my life.

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