Sleep Apnea Treatment Can Give Couples’ Bond a Boost

Strapping a mask to your face can make for a happier marriage, a new study suggests.

Relationships with partners flourish if a person with sleep apnea starts using a continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machine on a regular basis, researchers found.

Snoring is one of the most recognizable symptoms of sleep apnea, and it can reach timber-rattling levels for some.

This means both the person with sleep apnea and their partner often lose lots of sleep to the health problem.

“No one is at their best when they aren’t sleeping,” said lead researcher Wendy Troxel, a senior behavioral scientist with RAND Corp.

“In an age where we see couples going through ‘sleep divorces,’ and roughly 50% of marriages end in actual divorce, recognizing how healthy sleep can contribute to healthy relationships is imperative,” Troxel added.

Nearly 30 million Americans have sleep apnea, a chronic disease in which the upper airway collapses repeatedly during sleep, disrupting normal breathing, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

The new study involved 36 couples in which a person with sleep apnea started using a CPAP machine, which uses mild levels of air pressure delivered through a mask to keep the throat open.

After three months, the couples reported higher levels of relationship satisfaction and lower levels of conflict if the CPAP machine was regularly used.

 “Recognizing that sleep and sleep disorders have an impact on the quality of a relationship could be a powerful motivator for those affected with sleep apnea to adhere to treatment,” Troxel said in an academy news release.

The study was published recently in an online supplement of the journal Sleep and will be presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Houston.

More information

The Sleep Foundation has more about CPAP machines.

SOURCE: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, news release, May 30, 2024

Source: HealthDay

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