How to Sleep With a Snorer
Love can be blind and, for a while, even deaf. But snoring can take a heavy toll on a relationship. Sleeping in separate bedrooms is not your only option.
Could It Be Dangerous?
Does he snort and gasp in his sleep, then feel tired all day? When a person has loud-intensity snoring, it is an alarm signal, Dr. Loube says. It is important to distinguish between benign snoring and a dangerous condition called sleep apnea.
A person with sleep apnea stops breathing for 10 seconds or longer several times every hour, all night long. As respiration is cut off, and the level of oxygen in the blood drops, he wakes up briefly to reopen his airway, then resumes breathing with a snort. When you go from being fast asleep to suddenly awake, it's very stressful on the body, Dr. Kuppersmith says. According to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, up to half of all people with sleep apnea have high blood pressure, which raises the risk of stroke and heart failure. The majority also suffer from daytime drowsiness and are more likely to have car accidents than people without the condition. One explanation of why married men live longer than single men is that their wives discover the sleep apnea problem and get them care, Ware says.
Sleep apnea can be addressed with oral devices and surgery, but continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is usually the first medical treatment used. It involves wearing a mask or special mouthpiece while sleeping; a blower gently forces air through the nasal passages. If the snorer can tolerate sleeping with the apparatus, CPAP is highly effective. Because apnea is a medical condition, most insurers will pay the estimated $400 to $1,200 cost for CPAP.
Fortunately, I haven't yet had to sleep with a masked man. My husband's snoring has improved over the years without such dramatic measures. He stopped smoking and lost some weight. After he drinks red wine, he sleeps in another room. And I do have my own secret weapon: a little white-noise machine. When the snoring starts, I just submerge myself in the soothing sounds of a waterfall.