Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sleep & Relationships: Practical Tips to Help a Sleep Stealer

Yesterday we looked at some signs that you or your bed partner may be a sleep stealer. Today let’s discuss three ways to put an end to sleep stealing.

First, seek medical help for an ongoing sleep disorder. Meet with a board-certified sleep specialist at an
AASM-accredited sleep center near you.

Many sleep disorders can be disruptive to your bed partner’s sleep. These include
snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome and grinding teeth – also called bruxism.

Or you may have one of the disturbing sleep disorders that are classified as a type of
parasomnia. If so, you can follow these ten tips for preventing parasomnias.

The need for medical help is most urgent if you suspect that you may have sleep apnea. It can increase your
risk for other health problems such as heart disease and stroke.

Loud and erratic snoring is a key
warning sign for sleep apnea. Another sign is when silent pauses during sleep are followed by gasping or choking sounds.

Second, you and your bed partner should both commit to “
sleep for seven” – to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Then practice the healthy habits of good sleep hygiene.

Third, you can take some practical steps to prevent sleep stealing. We asked sleep specialist
Donna Arand, PhD, for some tips.

“Couples can purchase two twin mattresses and put them on a king frame and box spring so that body movements are not conducted to the sleeping partner,” she said. “It is also useful to have separate blankets or other top bed covers for each side of the bed to minimize disruption.”

Arand also recommends that couples keep the bedroom door ajar and use a dim night light in the bedroom or hallway. This will allow one of you to move quietly in and out of the room without disturbing the other. Arand also suggests using a “white noise” sound machine to drown out bothersome noises.

Have you found any useful ways to prevent sleep stealing?

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