Is your partner's loud snoring keeping you awake at night? Do their frequent pauses in breathing and gasping for air when they start again making you afraid for their health? If so, it may be time to talk to your bed-partner about getting treatment for their snoring.
Approximately 20 million American adults suffer from sleep apnea, so it may not be much of a stretch to believe that your loved one may be one of them.
Untreated sleep apnea can lead to a number of health and general well-being problems including excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, restless sleep, cardiovascular trouble, depression, and more.
What's even scarier is that many people may not even be aware that their sleep habits are contributing to their declining health, making it even more important for you, as the bed-partner, to bring it to their attention and discuss it with them about seeking treatment.
Tips for Talking to your Partner about Sleep Apnea
At The Alaska Sleep Clinic, we get thousands of patients every year walking through our doors seeking treatment for sleep disorders. Many of these patients would never have sought therapy for their disorder if it weren't for their partner's insistence.
A number of these same patients grumbled and complained as they weren't convinced their snoring was any real concern, but after having their sleep study and receiving treatment, these same folks began to see a world of difference in their everyday alertness, health, and overall happiness.
Some people just need a nudge in the right direction by the right person. Unfortunately, the right person may not always be sure of the best way to approach their partner.
That's why we created a list of tips on how to talk to your partner about sleep apnea.
1. Be observant and do some preliminary research
It's never a good idea to go into a conversation without having any facts or information to back up your concerns. Therefore, before beginning the conversation get your ducks in a row.
Observe their sleep behaviors and do research to determine if their sleep troubles are a real cause for concern. There are many quality resources available online for you to look through, but here are two great articles to look over before beginning your discussion.
The first lists 7 common signs and risk factors associated with sleep apnea. The second article details the methods of diagnosing sleep apnea, and the various treatments and therapies.
2. Express your concerns
Once you've armed yourself with facts about the dangers of sleep apnea, and you've observed their behavior enough that you know there's a strong probability that they have a sleep disorder, it's time to approach your partner.
There's no real easy way to tell somebody that they need to seek treatment for a problem. The best you can do is to be honest with your partner about your concerns.
Show them the facts you've discovered about sleep apnea, and tell them about the treatments you've discovered and the health benefits of seeking help. Try not to focus on the negative aspects of what the snoring and apnea events are doing to their health and your own sleep.
Instead talk to them about the benefits of treatment: How they'll get better sleep at night, be more awake and alert during the day, they'll have fewer morning headaches, and their likelihood of developing serious medical problems will be greatly reduced.
3. Gather evidence
Some people refuse to believe anything they can't see with their own eyes, and others may think you're over-exaggerating the severity of their nocturnal behavior. So for these people–show them their disorder.
You can do this before the discussion, but it's best not to surprise them with evidence of their sleep behavior. Rather, if your partner is unwilling to believe their snoring is a concern, put them to the test and tell them you'd like to record their nightly behavior, and if after watching the tape they're still not convinced they have a problem, agree that you'll drop the discussion.
You can either have a camera on hand and be ready to videotape their apnea events after they've gone to sleep and their snoring and gasping has woken you from sleep, or you can set up a video camera on a tripod to either film the entire night (battery and storage willing) or program it to take video at intermittent times.
Once they witness what happens to their bodies when they stop breathing many times during the night and begin again with loud, choking gasps, they will more than likely not only be willing to admit they have a problem but be ready to seek treatment immediately.
4. Look at your insurance plan's coverage policies and local clinic's prices
Cost is obviously one of the largest concerns when it comes to medical procedures, diagnostics tests, and therapy equipment purchases. Therefore it's a good idea to include the cost in your research.
Contact your insurance company and see what their coverage plans are for diagnosing and treating sleep apnea.
You can also contact local clinics to see what their prices are to get an idea of what your cost after coverage may be.
Here is a link to The Alaska Sleep Clinic's pricing: How Much Does a Sleep Study Cost?
5. Encourage therapy compliance
Getting your partner to go through with a sleep study is really only half the battle. Their condition is only going to improve through therapy compliance, which often means using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device.
Many people have difficulty adjusting to wearing a mask every single night to treat their sleep apnea, so it's important that they get the love, patience, encouragement, and support they need from their partners.
If they're having a tough time adjusting to CPAP use, here's a great article to have them read that addresses the most common concerns new users have:
And remember, it's best if CPAP use compliance is combined with other lifestyle changes so your partner gets the most out of their therapy.
Simple things like cutting back on smoking, drinking, caffeine use; getting regular exercise; keeping a regular sleep/wake cycle, and other practices can go a long way towards getting their health back on track.
For more DIY tips for better sleep at night, check out the article below:
If you live in Alaska, and you and your partner are ready to take the next step in getting treatment for snoring, contact the Alaska Sleep Clinic today. We take pride in the fact that our patients have some of the highest rates of successful compliance in the nation.
That's because, compared to other clinics, we have a comprehensive program (SleepN) developed to ensure CPAP compliance that includes remote monitoring of CPAP devices, allowing our technologists to keep an eye on patient progress; automated updates on when patients should receive new equipment; and we provide top-notch education to our patients.
Learn more about our SleepN program and how it helps our patients with an 80% compliance rate (compared to the 55% compliance rate of other clinics).
For more information, or to schedule an appointment today, click on the link below for your free 10-minute phone consultation from one of our trained sleep experts. Let us help you help your loved ones get the treatment they need so that both of you can get the sleep you deserve.