Obstructive sleep apnea causes breathing to stop and start during sleep and is often accompanied by loud gasping or snoring. Resulting in a poor nights sleep for both the patient and their partner. Treatment for sleep apnea is the patient using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine during sleep but often thought of as cumbersome and unattractive. The Journal of the National Sleep Foundation recently published a study indicating spousal support plays a role in a sleep apnea patient using the CPAP machine.

However, 6 in 10 adults sleep with a partner and a fourth say that their relationship is adversely affected by sleep problems. Spouses can help make a difference in their partners’ health. Often it is the partner that alerts the patient that something is wrong while they sleep.

While prior research only focused on improved sleep for the patient, this study suggests that couples who look at the CPAP therapy as a way for both of them to get a good night’s sleep, do better at using the machine nightly as directed. Couples who learned about sleep apnea and treatment together adhered to CPAP use more successfully than those who didn’t. Communication between partners appears to be key in making a successful transition to using the CPAP machine.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea can include:

  • Having a sore or dry throat upon waking
  • Waking up choking or gasping
  • Loud snoring
  • Daytime sleepiness/ fatigue
  • Morning headaches
  • Restless sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Forgetfulness
  • Changes in mood

If you or a loved one are experiencing sleep issues, it is best to discuss with your physician who can provide information to address your specific needs.