If a sleep disorder is driving a wedge between you and your partner in the bedroom, it's time to take a look at your lifestyle, suggests a University of Wollongong expert.
More than 80 per cent of troubled sleepers in an Australian survey said the problem had a considerable negative effect on their relationship with a bed partner.
About 20 per cent had given up sharing a bed and slept in different bedrooms, while 68 per cent said seeking treatment had improved their relationship. A quarter of those surveyed waited one to three years before getting treatment.
Dr Christopher Magee, a senior research fellow with the Centre for Health Initiatives, said lifestyle could contribute to a number of sleep disorders, including insomnia.
"I would recommend things like physical activity, not drinking too much alcohol, not having coffee before bed, having regular bed and wake times, those sorts of things can certainly help," Dr Magee said yesterday.
"If making those changes doesn't have an impact, then there might be something medical. But if sleeping disorders are having a big impact on a person's life, they should go see their doctor, who can refer them to sleep specialists in the area."
The survey found partners often played a role in prompting their beloved to seek help, with 46 per cent of sleep disorder patients reporting it was their partner who identified the problem.
Illawarra residents, posting comments on the Mercury Facebook page, said snoring partners affected their relationships.
Dr David Cunnington from the Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre said not many people sought help, thinking there was a lack of treatment available.
"People shouldn't see that as a barrier and should be seeking help because there are a range of treatments available," Dr Cunnington said.
Almost 3000 people with sleep disorders responded to the survey by CPAP Australia.
The disorders ranged from sleep apnoea - a blockage of the airways which can cause snoring and gasping - insomnia and restless leg syndrome.