On an average, couples spend nearly one-third of their lives sleeping together. There is a direct relationship between sleep and marital satisfaction. Those with lower marital satisfaction are more likely than their counterparts to report symptoms of insomnia, depression and day-time lethargy. With the fast-paced lifestyles of today, it is very important to get a good night’s sleep in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a healthy marriage. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Surveys conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) – 1999-2004, reveal that at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more. Most of those with these problems go undiagnosed and untreated. A recent NSF Survey conducted in the US found that about 12% of married couples sleep alone. Married couples with children are shown to suffer even greater sleep loss.
Sleep Apnea and its Ill-Effects on an Otherwise Happy Marriage
Snoring is one major factor for this separation at bed-time. It may sometimes be a symptom of sleep apnea, a serious disorder in which there are abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep. A person who suffers from sleep apnea is often unaware of having difficulty breathing, even upon awakening. Symptoms may be present for many years without identification, during which time the patient may get used to the daytime lethargy and fatigue associated with such lack of sleep. Due to the disruption in daytime cognitive state, behavioral effects are sometimes also noted, which include moodiness, irritability, decrease in attentiveness, decreased libido and sexual drive. The subsequent grogginess during the day can also lead to road accidents and can easily claim a precious life. Another symptom of sleep apnea is sleep paralysis, which can lead to insomnia. This may ultimately lead to depression.
The Importance of Treating the Condition at the Earliest in Order to Save the Marriage
Such sleep related diseases can wreak havoc on an otherwise immaculate marriage. It is not a condition that can be ignored as the consequences can be disastrous to the health of the sufferer as well as to the marriage with the spouse. It should be treated as any other marital problem and should be addressed as soon as possible. It is very important that couples seek therapy early on, while there is still good will between them. According to the American Psychological Association, in clinical settings, cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) has a 70-80 percent success rate for helping those who suffer from chronic insomnia. Almost one third of people with insomnia achieve normal sleep and most reduce their symptoms by 50 percent.
In conclusion, it is imperative that the couple affected by the sleep disorder do their best to communicate and help each other understand the necessity for therapy. They need to make a plan and stick with it. Marriages need a substantial investment of time, patience and understanding from both partners in order to make the holy union work. There are many treatments widely available including sleep aids, oral custom-made appliances, medications and decongestants to help combat this condition. However, it is also very important that couples compromise and try to find a way to conquer the disease together so that they can go back to living a normal healthy life and enjoy a full night’s uninterrupted sleep after a hard day’s work.
Matilda Wilson is an independent health researcher. Her main focus is on respiratory difficulties. She frequently reports her findings on various health blogs. Find out more about DeVilbiss Healthcare for apnea and respiratory solutions.