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According to a 2015 National Sleep Foundation survey an estimated 23% of American couples are now sleeping apart. Dr. Neil Stanley, a sleep expert at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, says that’s largely because couples who continue to share a bed suffer from 50 percent more sleep disturbances than those who sleep alone. Small wonder that the bed-sharing culture—once viewed as a litmus test for healthy marriages—has shifted drastically over the last few years, with couples increasingly working to find a balance between their needs for closeness and a good night’s rest.
While creating separate bedrooms is an obvious solution, many couples find their desire for intimacy and sheer proximity outweigh the drawbacks of sleep disturbances. If you’re one of those couples willing to stick it out in the bedroom, here are a few coping mechanisms for the top 7 contributors to sleep loss.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Snoring and sleep apnea can be nothing short of a nightmare for lighter sleep partners—but taking stock of thesays Suzan E. Jaffe, Ph.D., a board-certified psychiatrist and expert in behavioral sleep disorders. It may be that your new bed partner is the first to discover you snore, or significantly, have a more serious sleep disorder. On the other hand, if you’ve been married for years and suddenly find you’re losing more sleep than ever due to your spouse’s snoring or sleep apnea, you both need to determine what’s changed. Getting to the heart of the matter, as well as finding the most effective solutions, is essential.
Earplugs, noise canceling earbuds or headbands, along with white noise sound machines or apps are all straightforward fixes if your partner is a light snorer. Turning a fan or AC unit on high can have the same effect (though these measures will likely increase your utility bill). If the cause of snoring is nasal congestion, then nasal strips are a safe way to open air passages and reduce heavier breathing.
Most sleepers who are prone to snore do so more heavily when sleeping on their backs. Training a partner to sleep on his or her side is tricky, though—sewing a tennis ball, for instance, into your partner’s pajamas can be effective only if he or she wears the right clothing to bed. Your best bet is to ensure your bed is not too hard. To sleep on your side, you need adequate pressure point relief for your hips, neck, and shoulders. Mattresses featuring latex—or a latex alternative foam that provides just enough support with the right amount of bounce—is optimal. You should also make sure your pillow is the right height with just the right amount of loft.are a good choice for head and neck support due to their immediate recovery following compression.
More drastic measures should be taken if your sleep partner snores heavily or suffers from a sleep disorder. Anti-snoring devices like mouthpieces are often recommended for patients who suffer from mild to moderate sleep disorders. CPAP machines are not only helpful but a medical necessity for people who snore severely or have sleep apnea—long-term health issues like high blood pressure and diabetes are associated with each condition. Bottom line: if you or your partner suspect you have sleep apnea, find a licensed sleep expert in your area to help you both get the good night’s rest and longevity you deserve. [Read more…]