A Couple’s Journey to Fight Heavy Snoring

About this article:

  • Discover how a wife’s concern about her husband’s snoring led to their discovery he actually had sleep apnoea.
  • Learn about Ray’s experience in getting his sleep apnoea treated by Dr Kenneth Oo, an ENT specialist.
  • Understand the importance of conversing with your partner about sleep issues and being a supportive cheerleader on the road to better sleep.

For many couples, a good night’s sleep together is one of the foundations of a happy and healthy relationship.

But what happens when those peaceful nights are disrupted by a silent thief, stealing not just sleep, but also oxygen and overall well-being?

This was the reality for Ray, a 33-year-old Singaporean technology professional, and his wife.

 Their story, one of snoring, sleep apnoea, and a life-changing diagnosis, serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of prioritising sleep health and the hidden battles couples face.

Table of Contents

A Wife's Gentle Nudge

Ray had always been a snorer. But according to his wife, his snoring had somehow become worse over 2 years.

This wasn’t just marital annoyance but a sign of something more serious.

Despite his snoring worsening, Ray hadn’t considered the possibility of a sleep disorder. However, his wife had a feeling something might be wrong, and mentioned that he should at least seek medical advice. And that became a turning point for the couple.

My wife has been telling so many times that my snoring had worsened in the past two years.

But I didn't realise that it had got that bad.

Her concern prompted him to take action. 

With an Integrated Shield Plan, Ray knew a portion of the medical expenses would be covered if he were to be hospitalised, at both private and public hospitals. 

On his friend’s recommendation, he visited an ENT specialist at Mount Elizabeth Orchard Hospital, Dr. Kenneth Oo. 

Uncovering the Issue

During his first consultation with Dr Oo, he was asked a number of questions, including his likelihood to be tired during the day and even whether he had gained weight. A realisation dawned on Ray. 

I thought I slept well, even though I clocked in a good 8 hours a night.

But the fatigue? I couldn't deny it.

Plus, I gained almost 8kg in the past 3 years.

Following a thorough examination that included a nasal endoscopy, Dr. Oo explained the possibility of narrowed throat flaps causing the snoring and potentially limiting Ray’s oxygen intake during sleep.

Sleep apnoea was a strong suspect, and a sleep test was recommended. This test, often conducted overnight in a sleep lab, measures breathing patterns, oxygen levels, and brain activity during sleep.

Sleep apnoea, a condition characterised by pauses in breathing during sleep, can profoundly impact a person’s health and well-being. Left untreated, it can lead to a cascade of problems, including daytime fatigue, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even stroke.

A Wake-Up Call: The Diagnosis of Severe Sleep Apnoea

The results of the sleep test were a wake-up call, quite literally.

The test revealed severe sleep apnoea, with Ray’s breathing stopping approximately 60% of the time during a single hour. This meant his body was not receiving the oxygen it needed, leading to fragmented sleep, daytime fatigue, and a host of other potential health problems.

Ray was eventually diagnosed with sleep apnoea and hypertrophy of the nasal turbinates.

Dr. Oo outlined two treatment options: a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, which delivers pressurised air through a mask to keep the airways open during sleep, or a day-surgery called turbinoplasty to widen the airways.

As Ray weighed his options, his wife stepped in with a discovery that would significantly impact their decision.

Insurance Coverage and a Path Forward

My wife discovered that her company insurance covered the procedure.

This meant the surgery, which could have resulted in significant out-of-pocket expenses, would be fully covered.

With this financial burden lifted, Ray opted for surgery, a decision that would not only improve his health but also restore peaceful sleep to his wife and himself.

It’s been two months since the surgery, and Ray is currently recovering well.

His doctor also recommended exercise to manage his weight, which Ray, already breaming with renewed energy, readily embraced. 

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Beyond Individual Health: The Impact on Relationships

But perhaps the most significant benefit was the impact on the couple’s relationship.

With Ray’s sleep apnoea addressed, his wife can finally enjoy a peaceful night’s rest, free from the constant symphony of snoring. His story highlights the profound impact sleep disorders can have not just on himself but on others as well.

My sleep quality has improved dramatically.

Partners of individuals with undiagnosed sleep apnoea often experience sleep deprivation themselves due to the noise, gasps, or bodily movements associated with the condition. This can lead to daytime fatigue, irritability, and a strain on emotional well-being. The overall relationship also suffers due to the build up of tension and frustration.

Supporting Your Partner Through Sleep Apnoea

Ray’s wife shows how partners play an important role in addressing sleep apnoea. Her gentle nudge prompted him to seek medical attention, a crucial first step towards diagnosis and treatment. This act of love and concern highlights the importance of open communication within a relationship.

If you suspect your partner might have sleep apnoea, here are some tips for initiating a conversation:

  • Express your concern: Talk to your partner about your observations, such as their snoring patterns, daytime fatigue, or breathing pauses during sleep.
  • Do your research: Educate yourself about sleep apnoea, its symptoms, and treatment options. Sharing this knowledge can help your partner understand the potential impact on their health and well-being.
  • Encourage a doctor’s visit: Offer to accompany your partner to a doctor’s appointment or sleep study.

You Can Get Better Sleep Too

Sleep apnoea is a prevalent condition affecting millions of people worldwide. If you suspect you or your partner might have sleep apnoea, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve your quality of life and overall health.

Remember, a good night’s sleep is not a luxury; it’s a necessity for both individual and relational well-being. Take control of your sleep health and prioritise a restful night for yourself and your partner. Sweet dreams!

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