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Snoozing connection

Lack of sleep can have negative influence on health, relationships

February 12, 2012
By RODNEY MINOR , The Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - Sleep disorders can not only affect a person's health, they can hurt their relationships as well.

Dr. Bradley Paddock, the medical director at the Nathan Littauer Regional Sleep Disorders Laboratory, recalled how one of his early patients snored so loud, the man's neighbors actually moved the location of the bedroom to get away from the sound.

"That's a bit unusual," he said with a laugh.

Article Photos

Dr. Bradley Paddock, the medical director at the Nathan Littauer Regional Sleep Disorders Laboratory in Gloversville, points to a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device at the laboratory Thursday. The CPAP is used to treat sleep apnea.
The Leader-Herald/Rodney Minor

Lack of sleep also can have a negative affect on marital interactions.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine website - - in June, research was presented at a conference that showed "the quality of interactions among married couples is affected by wives' inability to fall asleep at night."

The research showed wives who took longer to fall asleep at night showed more negative and less positive marital interactions the next day.

"We found that wives' sleep problems affect her own and her spouse's marital functioning the next day, and these effects were independent of depressive symptoms," principal investigator Wendy M. Troxel, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pittsburgh, Pa., said in the news release. "Specifically, wives who took longer to fall asleep the night before reported poorer marital functioning the next day, and so did their husbands."

The authors said in the release that the findings show sleep disorders such as insomnia can have a negative impact on marital relationships.

"These results highlight the importance of considering the interpersonal consequences of sleep and sleep loss," Troxel said in the release.

Paddock said the sleep laboratory treats a variety of sleep disorders, including insomnia.

However, the laboratory most often treats people for sleep apnea.

While snoring is a common problem, loud snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea.

People with sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during sleep due to a complete or partial blockage of their airway by tissue in the nose or throat. The resulting low levels of oxygen increase blood pressure and may cause the heart rate to slow or stop for a few seconds. The poor quality of sleep caused by sleep apnea can lead to daytime sleepiness, problems in concentrating, memory problems and headaches.

Paddock said sleep apnea tends to be more common in men. In a lot of cases, a spouse will not only notice the loud snoring, but will take note of the signs of apnea.

"The wives are the ones who will get their husbands into the sleep lab," he said.

The laboratory offers a variety of treatments for sleep apnea, including surgery, oral appliances and CPAP.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure treats sleep apnea by providing a flow of air through a mask to splint the airway open during sleep.

Of course, getting a good night's sleep does not have to involve going to a sleep lab.

Paddock pointed the sleep laboratory out has many sleep hygiene tips people can follow to improve their sleep.

These include:

Sleep as much as you feel you need for refreshment, but not more. Once you wake, get out of bed. An excess of time in bed rather than sleep time may cause poor sleep in the future.

Maintain a regular schedule of going to sleep and awakening.

Regular daily exercise will improve sleep, however, this should not be done close to bedtime.



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