Women Want A Silent Partner by lindayy

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									Women Want A Silent Partner
January 2007
Bettina Arndt - Journalist & Clinical Psychologist


What does it take to keep people happy? Being married and having enough sleep. The answers topped the
poll in a new British survey form the Whitehall Wellbeing Group. That’s just dandy, but for many older
women sharing a marital bed rules out any possibility of that good night’s sleep. Sharing a bed with a
middle aged man, particularly if he is overweight and partial to regular alcoholic nightcaps, is sometimes
little different from sleeping next to a freight train.

Snoring! We often treat it as a joke, but for the long-suffering partners of snorers it’s no joking matter.
While people of all ages might snore, older men carrying extra kilos are most likely to produce the
thunderous sounds that can inspire murderous rage in even the most saintly partner. About 40% of adult
men snore, compared with 20 to 30 percent of women. Alcohol, smoking, obesity and ageing all increase
the odds of becoming a noisy sleeper. We’re talking about a mighty big noise. Some snorers clock in at 92
decibels, which is a noise similar to low-flying jet aircraft.

Partners can even sustain hearing damage from the really big boomers. Snoring is the major reason many
older women sleep badly, according to Jenny Hislop, an Australian sociologist working at Keele University
in the UK. Dr Hislop has been studying the sleep patterns of older women. British research shows that
63% of women cite snoring as the prime culprit in depriving them of sleep. Dr Hislop’s own research
shows almost a third of women in their 50s report snoring related sleep disruption three or more nights a
week. Women in their 40s and 50s average 61/2 hours of sleep for every eight hours in bed, according to
this research.

All those disturbed nights mean mid-life marriages are producing some very grumpy, sleep –deprived
women. What makes things worse is when snorers deny they are making suck a racket. A YOUNG woman
wrote into a snoring support group from by the Centre for Snoring and Sleep Disorders in Sydney asking
for help with her boyfriend. He refused to believe he was snoring. It prompted a flood of sympathetic
responses. Women described how snoring could destroy relationships and forced their evacuation to spare
bedrooms or the couch.

Bedtime can become a nightly ordeal, which can only be faced with an arsenal of earplugs and sleeping
pills. The prospect of sharing a bed on your holidays means anything but peace and relaxation. Yes,
women snore and Jenny Hislop’s research shows they are often embarrassed that they do. Their partners
are likely to be less tolerant than they would be and female snorers are more likely to end up divorced.
Obviously snoring won’t be the only reason for marriage break-down, but when couples are sleep-deprived
because of snoring, other problems ten to be magnified. There are successful ways of treating snoring,
including the use of airway pressure machines, as well as a wide range or oral devices and surgery.

Snoring is linked to hypertension, stroke and heart problems as well as the rises of apnoea and dangerous
overtiredness, all very good reasons for snorers to seek help. But ending the misery of the grumpy, sleep-
deprived spouse is the best on of all.




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