03/11/2015 05:19 pm ET Updated May 11, 2015

Stop the Snore to Improve Intimacy

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There is a common nighttime activity that may be hurting your love life and your health. More than a quarter of Americans recently confessed that a snoring bed partner makes them annoyed or angry, according to a new survey conducted by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM). Moreover, one in five respondents said a snoring partner could drive them out of bed.

In the Bedroom
Americans who snore frequently may find romantic nights interrupted and relationships at risk. The survey also revealed that 40 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.

When there's a snorer, both bed partners are affected. On average, the bed partner of a snorer loses at least one hour of sleep per night. A decrease in the quality or duration of sleep can cause tiredness and, potentially, frustration between couples, influencing their level of intimacy. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that among men with significant breathing problems during sleep, 69 percent reported reduced desire, 46 percent reduced arousal and 29 percent reported difficulty with orgasm.

Beyond the Bedroom
Because it can be an awkward discussion, many couples may avoid having a constructive conversation about how snoring is creating relationship frustrations -- and health concerns. In addition to pushing couples to sleep apart, 45 percent of women in the AADSM survey said they worry about the health of their bed partner when they snore.

This is a worthy concern, as snoring is a tell-tale sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening condition that causes sufferers to stop breathing repeatedly 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.

CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is the recommended treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP includes a face mask that must be worn during sleep, as well as tubing and a constantly running motor. For many snorers and sleep apnea sufferers, adhering to a CPAP machine and mask can prove difficult.

For those seeking a less cumbersome, more comfortable option, oral appliance therapy (OAT) uses a small mouth guard-like device worn during sleep to maintain an open, unobstructed airway. Custom-made by a dentist, oral appliances prevent the airway from collapsing by supporting the jaw in a forward position. OAT is a proven and effective sleep apnea treatment, and the devices also come with the perks of being silent, portable and simple to care for. Many patients find oral appliances to be a more appealing treatment option, with single adults twice as likely to prefer OAT to a CPAP machine and mask for a bed partner.

Treating sleep apnea helps to eliminate snoring and can lead to better sleep for both the snorer and their bed partner, which is essential to a healthy relationship. If you or your significant other suffers from sleep apnea or loud and frequent snoring, go to to learn more and find a local dentist offering oral appliance therapy.