(Darien, Ill.) March 31, 2015 – More than a quarter of Americans recently confessed that a snoring bed partner makes them annoyed or angry, according to a survey* from the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) – with one in five saying a snoring partner could drive them out of bed.
Americans who snore frequently may find intimate nights interrupted and their relationship as a whole at risk. Forty percent of women claim snoring in the opposite sex is a turn-off, and nearly one in 10 Americans went so far as to admit that snoring has hurt at least one of their romantic relationships.
Moreover, snoring, and the bed partner woes that come with it, aren’t isolated to an aging demographic. Generation Xers age 35-44 reported the highest incidence of snoring struggles, with 43 percent claiming a snoring partner steals their sleep, 35 percent saying it ticks them off and 24 percent admitting they want to – or do – sleep in a separate room because of their loved one’s loud snoring.
“Because it can be embarrassing, snoring can often be the elephant in the room when it comes to addressing relationship frustrations and health concerns,” said Kathleen Bennett, DDS, president of the AADSM, the leading organization for dentists who treat sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy.
Using the survey data to highlight the plight of spouses of untreated sleep apnea sufferers, the AADSM is building awareness for dental sleep medicine and OAT as an effective snoring and sleep apnea treatment option. The resulting media coverage is helping to educate thousands of consumers about sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment, positioning the field of dental sleep medicine for more growth opportunities as patients seek out more information about sleep apnea and OAT.
Beyond the Bedroom: The Effects of Snoring on Health
In addition to pushing couples to sleep apart, 45 percent of women said they worry about the health of their bed partner when they snore. Snoring is a tell-tale sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening condition that causes sufferers to stop breathing during sleep for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk for serious health problems from congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and heart disease to diabetes, depression and impotence.
“Sleep apnea is traditionally treated with a continuous positive airway pressure machine, which includes a constantly running motor, tubing and a face mask. CPAP is a great treatment but it can be hard to adjust to and sleep with,” said Dr. Bennett. “Many people are surprised to learn that dentists can help treat sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy, a device that can be less cumbersome and more discreet for the snorer and their partner.”
Oral Appliances: The Attractive Treatment Option
Oral appliance therapy (OAT) uses a small “mouth guard-like” device worn only during sleep to maintain an open, unobstructed airway, making it a “sexier” treatment than a CPAP mask. Single adults surveyed were twice as likely to prefer OAT to CPAP for a bed partner. Custom-made oral appliance devices prevent the airway from collapsing by supporting the jaw in a forward position. OAT is a proven and effective OSA treatment, and the devices also come with the perks of being silent, portable and simple to care for.
“I’ve treated so many couples who claim that oral appliance therapy saved their marriage by giving the snorer more energy and better health, and allowing the partner to sleep better in a shared bed,” said Dr. Bennett.
To learn more about professional development opportunities in dental sleep medicine offered by the AADSM, visit www.aadsm.org.