Know Your Subject
When it comes to sleep apnea, many of the most common symptoms are hard to miss. As a sleep partner, you may hear your fair share of snoring every night and may even be frightened awake repeatedly by your partner gasping for breath. The next day, your loved one may feel tired and have headaches. However, you may not realize that apnea can create dangerous health risks over time, such as an increased risk for stroke due to high blood pressure. By researching this dangerous condition before your discussion, you can present the facts to your loved one with a lower degree of emotions, which could help your discussion progress smoothly.
Many people disagree heartily with the thought that they could have sleep apnea. After all, many do not realize that they snore loudly every night and don’t associate their headaches or sleepiness with a serious sleep condition. Whether or not your loved one responds well or badly to your suggestion of apnea, you should respond with compassion, letting him or her know that he or she would be doing you a favor to agree to a sleep study.
Have a Knowledgeable, Non-Emotional Discussion
During your discussion, present your findings on sleep apnea and how it could harm your partner’s health and quality of life. You might want to discuss how untreated sleep apnea can increase one’s risk for dangerous accidents and even decrease romantic intimacy by lowering libido and provoking erectile dysfunction in men. Rather than arguing, ask your loved one if he would like you to gather some evidence. With his agreement, you could make a video or audio recording of a night of sleep to document loud snoring or pauses in breathing.
There are a few options for sleep testing. The first involves scheduling a sleep test with a sleep lab or sleep center. In this case, the patient spends at least one night in a sleep lab while a sleep technician monitors them. The second, and increasingly popular option, is to take a home sleep test. A home sleep test is mailed to the patient for them to wear overnight while they sleep at home. They mail the sleep test back so a board-certified sleep specialist can review the results, which are typically delivered in a week or less. For those who are diagnosed with apnea, sleep therapy is delivered with a CPAP machine and mask. CPAP therapy is proven to be effective when used consistently to treat sleep apnea.
If you are struggling to talk to a loved one about his or her possible sleep problems, arm yourself with this knowledge today, and look for a good opportunity to bring up your concerns in a loving way.
Think your partner has sleep apnea or another sleep issue? Ask them to take a free sleep health screen online today!