Are You and Your Partner Sleep Compatible?
Sleep disorders and incompatible nighttime habits can drive couples apart at night. But solutions do exist.
Strategies for a Better Night's Sleep: Conquering Sleep Apnea continued...
That's where spousal support becomes important. Cartwright says, "Getting
the spouse to hang in there and stay in bed with the partner so he keeps
wearing it is key." In a pilot study that explored the effects of bed sharing
on adherence to CPAP treatment, Cartwright found that men prescribed CPAP
therapy were far more likely to maintain it when their wives stayed in bed with
them. Study results were published in a 2008 issue of The Journal of
Clinical Sleep Medicine.
Most severe cases of sleep apnea require spousal support outside the
bedroom, too. Weight
loss, a huge component to eliminating sleep apnea, comes much easier when
your spouse plays an active role. "You have to cook differently, take a walk
with him," Cartwright suggests.
Even a 20-pound weight loss can mean a big difference. This slight
weight reduction can change full-blown sleep apnea to positional apnea, whereby
the problem exists only when the person sleeps on his or her back. "You have
less respiratory distress on your side," Cartwright says. "Your mouth
automatically opens." To train back sleepers to switch to their sides,
Cartwright gives patients T-shirts with a pocket in the back that holds three
tennis balls. If they attempt to roll over, they're quickly reminded not
"The whole procedure may take a year or two," Cartwright tells WebMD. "If
they can get into better physical shape, patients don't need to wear