If you have sleep apnea, it’s vitally important that you get successful treatment. For many people, CPAP is the treatment your doctor recommends, and it may be the best option for you. If it is best, it’s important to give it a fair try before giving up on it.

Now a new study shows that couples-focused sleep apnea therapy may improve sleep and compliance with CPAP . However, even with this support, many people still have difficulty adapting to CPAP and should consider alternatives.

closeup of couples hands while in therapy

We’re in This Together

This new study is based on a relatively small number of interviews of couples affected by sleep apnea –just 20 couples–but the results echo some concerns that have been talked about elsewhere. For example, the interviews showed the crucial role that sleeping partners play in detecting initial concerns and consultations. Many people would never have known about their snoring, they say, or they wouldn’t have thought it was bad unless their partner told them.

Partners aren’t concerned just about their loved ones’ health–they’re concerned about their own sleep. In one of the interviews, a partner noted, “Love is blind at first; then, over time, you get tired, and you have kids.” And that’s when sleep gets really important.

Although everyone was anxious about using the machine at first, couples who took a “we” approach to sleep apnea treatment did better. When both partners took involvement–including research and treatment–the results were better: deeper sleep, less irritability, more energy, improved communication, and greater intimacy.

Partners play a vital role by giving encouragement, reminders, and even compliments. Sometimes, partners even go so far as setting up the machine

Since about 60% of adults sleep with a partner on a regular basis, these cosleepers are an important resource for ensuring proper treatment of sleep apnea, whatever form that would take.

Consider Alternatives

Even with the help of a supportive partner, couples in this study achieved an average of just five hours’ usage a night. Although this is better than the average, it may not be enough to provide necessary health benefits. When considering treatment options, people need to know that CPAP is not the only answer.

Even if you’re dividing the work up between the two of you, CPAP remains a significant burden, and your results may not be that good if you’re not able to achieve high levels of usage. It’s important to consider treatment alternatives like oral appliances , which may deliver better results in some situations. And it’s important to give up on CPAP if you just can’t make it work.

Is Your Partner’s Sleep Apnea Your Sleep Problem?

If you sleep with a partner whose snoring and/or sleep apnea is disruptive to your sleep, it’s up to you to take charge. It’s important to be sensitive, but you still have to encourage your partner to get treatment for their problem. Their health and yours depends on it.

If you’re looking for more information about sleep apnea treatment options in Omaha, please call (402) 493-4175 today for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.