Don’t want to talk about it?
One in two Australian’s surveyed claim that snoring has damaged their love life. 40% admitted their partner’s snoring forced them to sleep in a separate room. 31% said their partner’s snoring caused arguments and 21% blamed snoring for reducing intimacy levels. Today, there is published research revealing a clear link between snoring and a poor sex life. Snorers, generally, can have up to 30 per cent less sex than non-snorers. The psychosexual side of snoring is something that more and more researchers are focusing on, given the potentially devastating consequences.
Let me be blunt … snoring can ruin your sex life and some partners say that they have even considered divorce! A few have even said that they wouldn’t continue dating someone if they found out they snored. There is little wonder that snoring is a leading cause of relationship issues, as well as health problems.
Snoring is a serious issue and it is a sign that your airway is being partially blocked. It is a symptom of a physical condition, such as sleep apnoea, sinusitis or nasal obstruction, and it can be treated.
Snoring often fosters deep resentments between partners that can erode their feelings for one another and damage their sex lives. Poor sleep leads to cranky couples who argue more, communicate less and are too sleepy for sex.
Snoring affects at least two people! The snorer and the person you are sleeping with. The partner of a snorer usually experiences immense frustration and may go to great lengths to try and get some sleep – wrapping pillows around themselves, using ear-plugs, using white (background) noise to drown out the snoring and even fantasising about smothering their partner with a pillow! Don’t laugh, a partner’s sleep deprivation can cause tiredness, irritability and irrational thinking! Snorers, on the other hand, have been polled and revealed that they feel less sexually attractive in the bedroom and are quite reluctant to sleep with a new partner. New sleeping partners of snorers revealed that they were less inclined to see a future with a snorer, stating that sleeping in the same bedroom is especially important in a new relationship and that would not be possible and still get a good night’s sleep.
The social impact of sleepiness and lack of quality sleep is evident and often misunderstood. A person suffering from a sleep disorder can come across as lazy, disinterested, non-helpful and intimacy-phobic.
The bottom line is that sleep is essential to life, that’s why sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture. Good quality sleep will heal you physically, mentally and emotionally. Seven to nine hours of sleep are usually required by the body each night. Just because you are in bed for a period of time, does not mean that the quality and consistency of your sleep is healthy. In 2009, a study discovered that the quality of sleep couples get is intrinsically linked to the quality of their relationships.
A good night’s sleep may be one of the best kept secrets
to a long and successful relationship
Dr Laura Berman, a relationship and sex therapist, has referred to snoring as a “big relationship divider.” She says snoring creates frustration and resentment on both sides: the snorers, who can’t help it, and those suffering next to them.
Very loud snoring can be indicative of a serious health problem like sleep apnoea. If left untreated, sleep deprivation will result and as the sleep debt continues to build, so too does the risk of developing a life-threatening situation. The Australian Sleep Health Foundation, an organisation set up to educate people on the risks of sleep disorders, has found that large numbers of sleep apnoea cases still remain undiagnosed in this country.
Despite the devastating effects of snoring, most couples avoid the issue and are reluctant to pursue a solution. Snoring is a delicate, and sometimes embarrassing subject and must be handled carefully to avoid upsetting either party. The snorer often feels that there is nothing they can do to prevent their snoring or, worse, they are in complete denial, which usually results in their partner recording them in the act, as evidence (Exhibit z z z z z z z z z z !!!).
The habit of sleeping in separate bedrooms alters the dynamics of bedtime and can be devastating to a relationship. It should not be seen as a longterm solution. Sex therapists are seeing more and more couples who complain about an unsatisfactory sex life and upon questioning, it is revealed that they no longer sleep in the same bedroom. Many couples describe the intimacy and comfort level of sleeping in the same bed as extremely important to their relationship. When snoring forces one spouse into another room for the sake of sleep, the crucial together time before drifting off to sleep is hard to replace. The intimacy of sharing a bed is an essential part of a romantic relationship and when this stops, it places a strain on the relationship, adding stress and irritability and feelings of rejection. Even if both partners have successfully resigned themselves to separate bedrooms, what happens when you go on holidays? A little more difficult and maybe a lot more expensive.
There are many non-surgical, more tolerable, safe and highly effective, minimally invasive treatments available to snorers today. Many patients have commented that it wasn’t until their snoring was cured that they realised how much happier they were to spoon and snuggle their spouse again.
Aside from the emotional impact of snoring on a relationship, the sleep loss associated with snoring – whether it’s the snorer or the bed partner – can lead to various symptoms, with varying severity (as per the list above).
Loud snoring may be dangerous to you as well as to your sleeping partner. So, for the sake of your relationship and your overall health, it is important that you address the issue by consulting your dentist, doctor or healthcare provider.
Dr Michelle Donegan has a particular interest in sleep dentistry. Apart from working at Dr David Young & Associates, Michelle also works as a consultant at The Woolcock Clinic in Glebe, New South Wales, which specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep and breathing disorders.
Previously we spoke about things you should be aware of before getting dental work done overseas. To view this blog, please click here.