The health implications of untreated sleep apnea are serious and abundant: excessive fatigue, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, depression, liver problems, and more. But there is a tremendous cost for untreated sleep apnea that we don’t discuss nearly enough: our relationships. According to americansnoring.com, “Snoring is the leading medical reason for divorce among Americans and third leading cause, trailing only infidelity and financial problems.” (read the article here.)
Untreated sleep apnea can cause huge rifts in your personal relationships, in more ways that you can imagine. First, there are the immediate consequences: the migration of our bed partners to a separate room during sleep, reduction in intimacy because of sleeping apart, and exhausted partners who aren’t able to sleep due to excessive, loud snoring. Then there are the more subtle consequences: moodiness and fatigue cause us to spend less time interacting positively with the ones we love, resulting depression and irritability can make us feel isolated from friends and family, and a decease in libido can all have a very negative impact on our relationships with bed partners, children, friends, and coworkers.
In a post on sleepapnea.org, sleep apnea patient George describes the decline of his personal and professional relationships due to sleep apnea: “…the apnea symptoms continued to worsen. I constantly fought sleep at the office, suffered from memory problems and a growing inability to concentrate, and endured more frequent bouts of depression. My relationships with peers and supervisors were poor. …My marriage did not fare as well. Married in 1985, we were divorced three years later.” (read his whole story here.)
Children can feel the impact of a parent’s untreated apnea, too. Many children suffer sleepless nights due to loud and excessive snoring of one of their parents, even when sleeping in separate rooms. They also fall victim to decreased energy, depression, and moodiness / irritability of the parent. In children who, themselves, suffer from untreated sleep apnea, relationship problems are just as detrimental. In a medical article by David Gozal, M.D., he states, “Both habitual snoring and OSA are associated with behavioral problems, particularly hyperactivity and ADHD.” (read the full article here.) In addition, children with untreated sleep apnea also commonly suffer from daytime sleepiness, inability to concentrate, moodiness, irritability, and depression. These can all cause problems with peers, teachers, and parents.
Don’t let your health, and the health of your relationships, fall victim to untreated sleep apnea. There are very effective treatment options that can help you, and those around you, thrive. To learn more about the symptoms and signs of sleep apnea, you can read the following articles on our blog:
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