Sleeping next to a husband that snores can have negative consequences for not just your sleep quality, but also your marriage. Snoring can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, and depending on the cause, prevent him from getting a good night’s sleep as well. This is not healthy for either of you. Some couples will resort to sleeping in different rooms if the problem persists.

But you’re not alone in facing this problem because an estimated 90 million Americans snore. However, the difference between simple snoring and sleep apnea, is that the latter causes you to stop breathing, these are called apneas. In severe cases, you can have dozens of apneas in an hour. Each time you experience an apnea your sleep is disturbed and this can leave you feeling fatigued the next day.

How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

Snoring by itself doesn’t always mean one has sleep apnea, though it’s one of the most common symptoms. For a proper diagnosis, you must undergo a sleep study. These are usually done in sleep clinics and will involve spending the night at the clinic. Before going to sleep, you’ll be hooked up with sensors that measure brain waves, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and even leg movement. As you sleep, a technician will monitor all the data to see if there are other signs of sleep apnea. Once the sleep study is complete, the data will be sent to a sleep doctor, who will analyze it and make a diagnosis.

You Have Sleep Apnea, Now What?

With this diagnosis, a prescription will be written for a CPAP machine. These machines provide continuous positive air pressure as he sleeps, keeping his airway open. The biggest benefit you’ll notice is that he’ll no longer snore. He’ll notice that he’s sleeping better because he’s not constantly being woken up because of lack of oxygen. Modern CPAP machines are also very quiet, usually making a very soft humming sound, very similar to white noise.

Along with the prescription for the machine, the doctor will also specify the amount of air pressure used. This is based on the severity of the sleep apnea and other factors. In most modern CPAP machines, the doctor can adjust this setting remotely. The machine will also send data back so the doctor can monitor your husband’s treatment.

Take Snoring Seriously

As time goes on, sleep apnea can improve or worsen, so it’s important to see your sleep doctor once a year. If your sleep apnea is getting worse, your doctor can increase the machine’s air pressure to keep your airway open. On the other hand, some people have overcome their sleep apnea with lifestyle changes and no longer require a CPAP machine. It will require a second sleep study to confirm that you no longer have sleep apnea.

If you or your partner snore, talk to your primary care doctor. They’ll ask further questions to determine if you need a referral for a sleep study. Untreated sleep apnea can have negative health consequences, including high blood pressure and increased risk for diabetes and heart attack. A sleep study might seem daunting but it’s only one night and the benefits of getting proper treatment far outweigh spending one night at a sleep clinic.