In sleep apnea, the collapse of structures at the back of the throat during sleep causes a temporary closure of the airway. Loud, frequent snoring occurs as the sleeper attempts to re-open these blocked passages. About 4% of all women and 9% of men are affected by sleep apnea. Repeated awakenings mean that the partners of loud, frequent snorers lose an average of one full hour of sleep per night, according to researchers. They believe that this chronic lack of sleep may have a negative impact on health.
Mayo Clinic Proceedings 1999;74:955-958.
COMMENT: An important recognition that the partners of those with sleep apnea ideally should be sleeping in a different room until their partner has the problem treated. If this is not done, it is just a matter of time before the partner will get sick.