Originally at: https://www.sleepdallas.com/blog/loved-one-with-sleep-issues/
Tossing and turning, snoring, gasping for air, lying awake for extended periods of time, going the bathroom multiple times per night. These are all common – and frustrating – sleep issues that have a detrimental effect on sleep quality and quantity – for the sufferer, to be sure, but also for those with whom they share a bed, bedroom, or even a home.
More often than not, sleep issues like these are a sign of an underlying sleep disorder or other health concern that needs to be addressed. And while it’s certainly unfortunate that a sleep partner may experience reduced sleep quality as well, they can actually play a significant role in the solution by insisting that their loved one seek out advice, diagnosis, and treatment from a medical professional. In fact, a recent study highlights the importance of discussing sleep disturbances and their potential consequences with a loved one or housemate, as they impact the quality of the relationship and individual qualities of life.
The Danger of Sleep Disorders
Sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), insomnia, and restless leg syndrome, cause interruptions to sleep patterns and other metabolic consequences that pose a serious threat to the sufferer’s overall health and well-being, especially when left unaddressed or untreated for an extended period of time.
In the short-term, interrupted sleep can lead to a variety of concerning symptoms stemming from daytime drowsiness. Some of these include:
- Memory issues
- Trouble concentrating
- Depleted motor skills
- Poor balance
- Mood changes
Over time, untreated sleep disorders can cause long-term health consequences, such as weakened immunity, high blood pressure, weight gain, an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease, among many others.
Discussing Sleep Concerns with Your Loved One
If you’ve found yourself in a situation where the sleep issues of someone else are negatively impacting your sleep, it’s time to take action. Sleep concerns can certainly be a sensitive topic, but discussing them is necessary for your health, your partner’s health, and the overall health of your relationship.
When an issue goes unacknowledged for too long, tensions can build and result in resentment. You can create a space for open dialog by noting your genuine concern for your partner’s sleep health, as well as your knowledge that while problematic, these sleep disturbances are unintentional. Below we’ve listed a few tips on how to navigate an ongoing conversation surrounding sleep concerns with your partner:
- Record the Disturbance. You may find it helpful to record your partner during the night so that you can replay the disturbance as proof of a problem. This is helpful if your partner doesn’t acknowledge the weight