Over the past couple of months, you’ve been staring at your wedding picture. You fondly recall the early days when you would hold hands walking down the sidewalk, snuggle under a hand-made afghan to watch a favorite movie, and dig into the leftover Chinese food in the middle of the night with one set of chopsticks. But time has marched on over the last 21 years. The kids are no longer little and now off to college, both of you have professional careers, finances are stable, and you have your health. Or do you?
During the last two years, you have been feeling sluggish and fatigued, and can’t seem to get a solid night of sleep. To make matters worse, the decibel level of your snoring has elevated to a jackhammer or better still a jumbo jet coming in for a landing as you have been emphatically told. And your spouse has had enough! She is tired of wearing ear plugs that do not drown out the sound, and she refuses to sleep in the guest bedroom. She has given you an ultimatum: enough is enough! You have been told that if you do not seek out a solution to your snoring and sleep problem, you will be heading to divorce court.
Sound familiar? You are not alone. Believe it or not, snoring is estimated to be the third most common cause of divorce in the United States and Great Britain. Snoring also is at the top of the leaderboard when it comes to the list of types of “unreasonable behavior,” which ultimately leads to divorce. With both partners sleeping in the same bed, the incessant snoring and sleep disruption place a strain on the relationship due to lack of rest. As a result, irritation, aggravation and tension skyrocket, which inevitably devolves into all-out, voices-raised fights.
In a study at the University of California at Berkeley, researchers evaluated how a poor quality of sleep has a negative effect on marital relationships. According to psychologist and lead investigator Amie Gordon, “Poor sleep may make us more selfish as we prioritize our own needs over our partner’s.” The data suggests that disrupted sleep leaves husbands and wives less in tune and cognizant of the moods and needs of their partners.
In addition, the National Sleep Foundation conducted a study and discovered the following:
- Approximately 12% of married couples sleep alone.
- Satisfaction in marriage can be linked directly to sleep. Couples who report low marital contentment are much more likely to suffer from a variety of sleep disorders.
All it might take to potentially stay away from divorce attorneys and journey toward marital bliss is knowing the cause of the snoring. Often times, snoring is not simply due to nasal congestion. It can be a sign of a disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), whereby the individual stops breathing a number of times during any given hour throughout the night. And if left untreated, sleep apnea can adversely affect the sufferer’s health with an increased risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. Unfortunately for married couples, snoring is not the only symptom associated with sleep apnea, there can also be a decrease in libido and sexual activity.
If after a sleep study it is determined that sleep apnea is the culprit, there are several treatment options available. Good news is that people who are treated for their sleep apnea are 60% more likely to be compliant with their treatment plan if their spouses do not leave the bedroom.
However, solving your sleeping problem is one step in your journey toward getting your marriage back on track. But if you make a pact that you are in this together, your relationship is bound to strengthen and improve.
If you are worried that snoring and sleep deprivation are adversely affecting your marriage, please contact one of our medical concierges today at to schedule a free consultation.