How to handle a snoring partner

If your partner snores, you know how annoying it can be. Most days you wake up feeling exhausted and irritable. What’s even more alarming is that it can take a serious toll on your health and your marriage.

When you’re sleep deprived, you’re at an increased risk for high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and weight gain. Plus, women whose partners snore are more likely to report marital dissatisfaction and are more likely to divorce, according to a Rush University Medical Center study.

The good news is that there are things you can do today to alleviate the problem and get a good night’s sleep. Here are six:

Talk about it
“It’s all about how you approach it,” according to  Lisa Brateman, a relationship specialist in private practice in New York City and a consultant at  New York Sinus and Sleep Medicine.  Instead of blaming your husband, a more effective way to talk about the problem is to explain to him how his snoring is affecting your health and your relationship. “When it comes from that point of view, then a man will often be able to hear the message as opposed to feeling attacked as if there’s something wrong with him.”

Work together
“It’s not the person who’s snoring that has the problem. “It’s both of their problems,” according to Brateman. If your husband is denying there is even a problem, you’re left feeling that he doesn’t care about you and your well-being, which can lead to resentment. But if you’re able to help him see that his snoring is a medical issue, and not just something that keeps you up a night, you can work together to find a solution. “Like any other conflict or difficulty in their lives, they have to work as a team to find a solution that works,” she said.

Get him to the doctor
There are several reasons why someone might snore, one of which is the most serious: sleep apnea. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that one-half of people who snore loudly have obstructive sleep apnea, a serious condition that affects 18 million Americans and can actually cause the person to stop breathing temporarily. As the oxygen level in your brain decreases, your brain sends a signal to the body to wake up. “Those arousals are very stressful,” according to Dr. Craig Schwimmer, Founder and CEO of The Snoring Center. Sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, daytime sleepiness, and increase the likelihood of developing diabetes, being overweight, and even dementia.

Dr. Schwimmer suggests going to the doctor with your husband so you can explain what you hear at night. The doctor will probably order a sleep study, which he might be able to do at home and can analyze his breathing.

Encourage lifestyle changes
Losing weight can be one of the most effective ways to reduce snoring and eating healthy and being active are things you can also do together as a family. Also, avoiding alcohol before bedtime and finding remedies for heart burn and acid reflux can also help.

Avoid separate bedrooms
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 23 percent of couples sleep in separate rooms but this arrangement can take a toll on your relationship. “You lose the window of a lot of intimacy because what replaces intimacy is resentment,” Brateman said.

Explore other options
“There’s no one perfect solution for everybody,” according to Schwimmer who says that although there are a variety of options available, there are drawbacks to all of them. There are several non-surgical, minimally invasive procedures as well as dental devices that may encourage your guy to do something about his snoring, so make an appointment with a specialist to find the best solution.