By Norine Dworkin-McDaniel
So how am I sleeping now? Much better, thank you. I no longer wake up at 3 a.m. and reach for my laptop. And since I've become more aware of when I should go to bed, I've noticed that I do get tired around 11, and if I can turn in then, I fall asleep faster and feel more rested in the morning than when I push myself to stay up.
Still more surprising, my husband and I have reached a detente of sorts in our sleep battles. I'm not sure if he got tired of sleeping apart or if my nagging ("You're going to die of a stroke or a heart attack if you don't stop snoring!") just reached critical mass. He recently went on his own to a sleep specialist, who promptly diagnosed him with borderline severe sleep apnea. That's a dangerous condition in which your airway collapses while you sleep, waking you frequently because you're not breathing. He did two overnight studies, and he got a prescription for a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask that will keep his airway open and stop the snoring.
Sure enough, he is no longer snoring. This may just save his life: A new study reveals that untreated severe sleep apnea quadruples the risk for dying of any cause. The diagnosis is also saving our marriage. The journal Chest reported that partners' quality of life improved tremendously after the people snoring next to them started using a CPAP mask. The machine does make a low whirring noise, but that's a small price to pay to once again sleep peacefully alongside my husband. Besides, I have plenty of earplugs.