My Wife Says I Snore. Do I Have Sleep Apnea?

Is your spouse complaining that you snore too much? Are they sleeping on the couch or in the spare room to avoid your snoring? A recent survey has shown that nearly half of all American couples sleep in separate beds in order to get enough sleep. While maybe it is not all due to snoring, snoring is the major reason couples do not share the same bed or even the same room. Just because you snore, however, does not mean that you have sleep apnea.

Primary Snoring

If your spouse is complaining of your snoring, you may or may not have sleep apnea. Snoring doesn’t always mean sleep apnea. You may simply be a primary snorer. Primary snoring may also be referred to as simple snoring, or benign snoring, because it is not harmful to your health. Simple snorers do not tend to snore constantly, consistently, or excessively loud, and do not experience apneic events while sleeping. What is an apneic event? It is a pause in your breathing that can last from seconds to over a minute. This does not happen with primary snoring.

What Exactly is Snoring?

The sound made when snoring is caused by the relaxation of your soft palate. Your soft palate is located at the back of your mouth near your throat and is soft tissue. When you sleep this soft tissue relaxes and partially blocks your airway. As you breathe, the air passes through and vibrates the tissues causing the snoring sound.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Primary snorers can snore loudly, softly, purr, snore most of the time, or occasionally. However, excessively loud, frequent snoring is often indicative of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The difference between simple snoring and sleep apnea is that persons with sleep apnea can experience hundreds of apneic events each night, which means their breathing stops. This can lead to health issues including diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.