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 1 in 10 Americans went so far as to admit that snoring has hurt at least one of their romantic relationships.
“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, an organization for dentists who treat sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy.
Using the survey data to highlight the plight of spouses of untreated oral sleep apnea (OSA) sufferers, the AADSM is building awareness for dental sleep medicine and oral appliance therapy (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% 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 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 view the survey's results click here.
To learn more about professional development opportunities in dental sleep medicine offered by the AADSM, visit www.aadsm.org.
About the Study
*AADSM Snoring Research Survey, January 2015 was conducted by an independent research firm on behalf of the AADSM. Results are based on the responses of 1,009 randomly selected adults ages 18 and older living in the United States who completed a telephone survey, January 29 – February 1, 2015. Results are accurate to +/- 3% points with a 95% confidence level and can be generalized to the entire adult population in the United States within those statistical parameters. For more information or a copy of the complete survey and results, contact Jackie Zureich at LCWA: (312) 565-4639 or [email protected].