Research News

A “Snore-Fire” Way to Hurt Relationships

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snore survey

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% claiming a snoring partner steals their sleep, 35% saying it ticks them off, and 24% 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,” says Kathleen Bennett, DDS, AADSM president, in a release.

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 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.

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,” Bennett says. “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 as a Treatment Option

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OAT uses a small “mouth guard-like” device worn only during sleep to maintain an open, unobstructed airway, which the AADSM says makes 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,” Bennett says.

The AADSM Snoring Research Survey 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 to February 1, 2015. Results are accurate to +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% confidence level and can be generalized to the entire adult population in the United States within those statistical parameters.