Till Your Snoring Do Us Part

Till Your Snoring Do Us Part

Till Your Snoring Do Us Part

Nighttime noise puts a strain on marriage, ongoing study reveals

A new study is investigating what millions of sleep-challenged couples already know: Snoring can cause stress between husbands and wives."Our early results are showing that the wife's sleep is indeed deprived due to the husband's noisy night. This is not a mild problem. The lack of sleep for both partners puts a strain on the marriage and creates a hostile and tense situation," Rosalind Cartwright, founder of Rush University Medical Center's Sleep Disorders Clinic in Chicago, said in a prepared statement.She and her colleagues are evaluating the marital harmony of 10 couples in which the husband has been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, a condition where weakened throat muscles block the airway, causing snoring and multiple nighttime awakenings.The couples fill out surveys about sleepiness, marriage satisfaction, and quality of life. They also spend a night in the clinic's sleep lab, so that researchers can determine the quality and quantity of the couples' sleep.Each couple will then undergo two weeks of treatment, after which time the surveys and diagnostic tests will be repeated. The study should be completed by April and the data made public this summer."This is a frequent problem within marriages that nobody is paying attention to. Couples who struggle with sleep apnea have a high divorce rate," Cartwright said. "Can we save marriages by treating sleep apnea? It's a question we hope to answer."In a study of one of the participating couples, the husband's snoring was waking the wife out of her sleep more than eight times an hour. Her "sleep efficiency rating" (the percentage of time a person actually sleeps during the night) was 73 percent, compared with an average of 90 percent for a normal person.The wife had tried numerous methods -- including ear plugs and ear phones -- in order to get a good night's sleep. However, she gave up and decided to sleep alone to escape her husband's snoring."The strain on the marriage was evident. The couple was fighting all the time and the surveys revealed low satisfaction with the marriage, especially when it came to effective communication," Cartwright said.  

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