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Waking a Heavy Sleeper...May Indicate a Bigger Problem

Updated on March 16, 2008
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American Sleep Apnea Association
American Sleep Apnea Association
American Sleep Apnea Association

A writer asks how she can wake her spouse in less than five minutes without screaming. My suggestion is that she scream, not at him to wake him, but aboutt the fact that he is showing classic signs of a common sleep disorder called sleep apnea . Symptoms of this disorder include falling asleep during the day, frequent or loud snoring, difficulty in waking and not feeling refreshed after 8 hours of sleep.

Common risk factors include family history, moderate obesity, smoking, obstructions in the airway and some others. In simple terms, persons with the condition (equally male and female) do not rest deeply or completely at night as they literally stop breathing as their airway closes off for brief moments. They may not wake completely, but they do arouse from the deeper sleep needed to refresh and recharge the body and never rest fully. Click on this link to test your "snore score".

Not only is the snoring and gasping for breath annoying and alarming to a bed partner, but it puts a tremendous strain on the heart. Persons with this condition are much more likely to suffer cardiac problems. Further, those with serious conditions are at risk of going to sleep behind the wheel of a car, while operating machinery or even in the middle of that important meeting with the boss.

The condition is easily diagnosed and treated with consultation by your family physician and a trip to a sleep lab. Most treatment is accomplished by using a type of "breathing machine" mask worn at night. It takes a few nights to get used to the mask and it is not sexy in the least. However, the benefits of a good night's rest cannot be overemphasized.

Trust me on this, I know from personal experience what a difference it can make.


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    • Mschanl profile image

      Mschanl 10 years ago from USA

      Rskirk55, This request is actually for my 12 year old son. Sorry I did not make my question clear enough. I don't see a sign that my son has sleep apnea. Thanks for trying to answer my hub. People with snoring spouses will find this hub and it's links informative.