Snoring and Divorce

For centuries, snoring was considered an annoying but untreatable condition that many men suffered from. The only danger it assumedly presented was that of sleeping alone for life, due to the loud and disruptive environment it created. Anthony Burgess, a British novelist, said it best, “Laugh and the world laughs with you; snore and you sleep alone.”

First came the ‘old’ wives tales’ that were promised to cure snoring. These included odd things like gargling with garlic, sleeping without pillows and having someone rub the upper lip of the snorer. Odd turned to just plain weird when suggestions, like sewing a tennis ball to the back of your pajamas, placing a pan of water under the bed and rubbing toothpaste under the nostrils, were made.

As time went on, entrepreneurs worldwide set out on a mission to create magical cures for snoring. Dietary supplements, nasal strips, face wraps, nose plugs, and pillows are just a few of the millions of devices people came up with. Looking at pictures or watching videos of people using some of these ridiculous devices is recommended when you’re having a bad day and need a laugh.

Then, in 2003 the British Snoring and Sleep Apnea created National Stop Snoring Week to raise awareness for the complicated ailment.

A combination of wives’ tales, a plethora of products and now a national day of recognition meant that word was spreading that snoring was not just annoying it was destroying lives. Snoring is often a symptom of sleep apnea. The news of this breakthrough in modern medicine still seems to be struggling to get out.

Dr. Kevin Pollock, DDS, has performed surgical research into obstructive sleep apnea and is trained in laser surgery for the treatment of snoring and says,

“People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and airflow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp.”

Dr. Pollock started the Rockwall Oral and Facial Surgery and is hoping to increase awareness of sleep apnea and save people years of preventable struggle. He says,

“Thanks to modern medicine there are now several treatment options available. A CPAP machine delivers oxygen through a mask to limit obstruction at night. One of the surgical options is an uvulo-palato-pharyngo-plasty. This surgery can also be done with advanced laser technology when performed by a skilled oral surgeon. In other cases, a radio-frequency probe is utilized to tighten the soft palate. These procedures are usually performed under light IV sedation in the office. Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious, but very treatable condition. Most major medical plans even offer coverage for diagnosis and treatment.”

Research is now showing that couples who are struggling with snoring, especially when caused by sleep apnea, have a much higher divorce rate. The spouse of a snorer is often awoken just as much if not more often. After restless nights, many people are exhausted during the day, irritable and groggy. To maintain their sanity, many partners try ear plugs, white noise machines and ultimately consider sleeping in separate rooms.

In the U.K. almost 90 percent of couples struggling with snoring admit to sleeping in separate rooms. Canadian research found that nearly 40% of couples are too, and in the United States one in ten admit to it. Chances are, if you asked around to your friends and family, and they were honest, at least a handful of them are suffering from this same crisis.

The National Sleep Foundation says that 18 million American adults suffer from sleep apnea. With so many medically proven treatment methods available, it may be time to throw away that questionable strap across your nose and seek a professional consultation.