World Sleep Day 2014: Snoring – tips to prevent or treat the problem!

It was the author of A Clockwork Orange who wrote, “Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.”

As we all well know, snoring is a problem that people have always made fun of. The fact is because that the person who sleeps with the snorer are the real sufferers, rather than the person who suffers from the problem. However, jokes apart, snoring can be a very serious problem and could also indicate a potentially life-threatening condition like OSA (obstructive sleep apnoea).


So, as this week included World Sleep Day, maybe you should decide that it’s time to put an end to your snoring problem. For you to know what can make you stop snoring, you need to understand what snoring is, what causes it to occur, and in what way it could actually be life threatening.

What is snoring? What causes it?

Firstly, snoring is a condition that occurs when airflow is obstructed while you’re sleeping. Basically, the back of your mouth and nose is covered with soft tissues and the collapse of the soft palate at the back of your throat is the main culprit for your snore. With every incoming breath, the palate vibrates and by obstructing the airflow, causes snoring.

Why only some people snore and others don’t?

Not everyone is blessed with enough space in the nose and throat to have a soundless sleep. There are a lot of people who snore because they have narrow airways, either permanently or temporarily, for various reasons:

  • You might suddenly start snoring when you suffer from flu, blocked sinuses or allergies. This happens because your nose gets blocked and you start breathing through your mouth. When you breathe through your mouth your tongue is pushed backwards and the soft palate starts vibrating which creates the sound.
  • People who have a throat infection or tonsillitis have swelling in the throat that can obstruct the airways. This type of snoring is not serious and it goes away once you fully recover from the infection.
  • Polyps – soft growth on the linings of the nasal passage, can also cause snoring
  • People who have a deviated septum also have obstructed airways.
  • Snoring may also be genetic and it’s possible you snore because your parents do.

Why can snoring be life threatening?

Regular snorers are at a risk of serious problems like OSA (obstructive sleep apnoea). Anyone suffering from this may experience partial or complete blockage of airways when sleeping when airflow can be blocked for period of 10 seconds or more. Because the breathing is stopped, the oxygen levels in your blood drops, and these low levels of oxygen can affect all the systems in your body and actually kill you. Prolonged OSA is also linked to hypertension, heart disease and numerous other serious illnesses.

Also, if you have most of the signs of OSA, like drowsiness during the daytime due to low oxygen levels, then you may also suffer from upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS). This condition is similar to OSA but people who have this condition have a tendency to breathe heavily to overcome the resistance of obstructed airways.

Is there any permanent treatment for snoring?

There are both surgical and non-surgical treatments available for the treatment of snoring and all the procedures mostly focus on minimizing the flapping or movement of the soft palate at the back of the throat.

Surgical treatment options include:

  • Septum surgery: People having a deviated septum can choose nasal surgery
  • Surgical removal of the uvula
  • Laser assisted trimming of the soft tissues of the palate.

Non-surgical treatment options include:

  • Dental devices or mouthpieces: These devices are designed such that the lower jaw is held forward which prevents the tongue from moving behind. They have shown to improve snoring in over 90% of all cases.
  • Nasal medications: Certain nasal spray and medications can improve breathing by clearing nasal blockages for temporary help
  • Nasal devices: Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a nasal device used for treating snoring in people with OSA. It has two components: the nasal mask and a pump that controls air pressure. It is worn throughout the night and the pump provides a constant air pressure that prevents the airway narrowing during inhalation and exhalation.

If you or your partner snores, you should act on these findings and not waste another year. You may not be able to so easily celebrate World Snoring Day 2015 if you don’t.

John Redfern

When your partner has a sleep disorder – you suffer too

When your partner has a sleep disorder such as snoring, it’s a very good bet that he or she is not the only one missing out on a good night’s rest. More than likely, your sleep is being affected too. Having a partner with a sleep disorder can cause you to lose nearly one full hour of sleep every night and that adds up to 12.5 full days of lost sleep each year.

This loss of sleep is important to you as it can have a major impact on your health and well-being. In rare instances, some disorders cause your partner to flail around and this could be putting even your physical health in nightly jeopardy, as black eyes are not unknown. A partner’s heavy snoring can also seriously affect your personal life. One out of every three adults with a partner says they have major relationship problems as a result of their partner’s disordered sleep.

Man snoring loudly as partner blocks her ears at home in bedroom

Fortunately you don’t have to suffer in sleepy silence. There are useful tips and techniques for coping with your partner’s sleep disorder, and you should always encourage your partner to seek help for a sleep disorder

Your spouse might be snoring loud enough to wake the neighbours, or perhaps even sleepwalking throughout the entire house. However, as long as he or she sleeps throughout the night, they might not even realise there is a problem, and that is often the start of a major problem. Although you may try to grin and bear it, it’s important to realise that encouraging your partner to get help to prevent this is a sign you care.

Snoring is one of the most common sleep problems. It can be harmless, but it can also be a real danger to health. It affects many middle-aged men but can also occur in women, though much less often. If it is the type known as sleep apnoea, it can lead to a host of medical problems, including death.

Snoring and sleep apnoea are simple problems to resolve by the use of a stop snoring mouthpiece which resembles a sports gum shield and adjusts the jaw just enough to open the airways. It will stop the snoring immediately and guard their health. These easy to wear appliances are NHS Approved and can be bought online without prescription for very little – particularly compared to the benefits that they bring to both the relationship and each individual’s health and general welfare.

At other times a sleeping problem can be a symptom of another more dangerous medical problem that can cause insomnia. Properly recognising and treating the underlying condition will also alleviate your partner’s abnormal sleeping habits. So if you notice a change in your partner’s sleeping habits or their sleep disorder is interfering with your sleep, encourage them to consult with his or her doctor. You can even help your partner keep a detailed sleep diary for a couple of weeks to document the symptoms. That will help the doctor identify the problem and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Once your partner’s sleep disorder has been identified, there are many ways that you can help him or her deal with the diagnosis and manage the condition. That will ultimately mean a better night’s rest for both of you – and a happier, healthier life.

John Redfern

Half the people who snore loudly have obstructive sleep apnoea

Snoring, put simply, is noisy breathing during sleep. It is a common problem among all ages and both genders, and it affects many millions of adults on a regular basis. Snoring may occur nightly, or intermittently, and the persons most at risk are males and those who are overweight. However snoring is a problem of both genders, although it is possible that women do not suffer with this complaint as frequently as men. Snoring usually becomes more serious as people age and it can cause disruptions to your own sleep and also that of your bed-partner. It can lead to fragmented and un-refreshing sleep, and this translates, into poor daytime function – tiredness and sleepiness.

woman who can not sleep because her husband snores

Often, this snoring is accompanied by episodes of stopped breathing known as obstructive sleep apnoea. Some women have success getting their husband diagnosed and treated for their snoring and sleep apnoea. Often, this snoring is accompanied by episodes of stopped breathing known as obstructive sleep apnoea. Some women have success getting their husband diagnosed and treated for their snoring and sleep apnoea.

If they snore and have high blood pressure or diabetes, they need to be assessed for sleep apnoea. A lot of time it’s the patient’s sleep partner who raises the red flag that there’s a problem. There’s an 80% chance that if a partner has to sleep on the couch because of snoring that the other has obstructive sleep apnoea.

Sleep apnoea is a sleep disorder that is characterized by pauses of breath or shallow or infrequent breathing during sleep. There are three types of sleep apnoea: mixed, central, and obstructive, the latter being the most common. People who suffer from sleep apnoea repeatedly stop breathing during their sleep. The affects of sleep apnoea are more than just being tired during the day. The disorder can have serious consequences and lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

However, the majority of women report difficulty in convincing their husbands to seek some form of medical attention. They should remember that this common medical problem not only interferes with the couple’s ability to share their marital bed, but also puts the intimacy that once was present in their marriage at risk.

Most men are unaware of any snoring or apnoea because they are sleeping. Even so, while interrupted or inadequate sleep takes its toll on women, the snoring and sleep apnoea are taking their toll on his health and longevity in a serious way.

It seems pretty clear that if men are going to get the treatment they need for snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea, then it’s up to their wives to take action. He deserves a long, healthy life full of vitality, and women deserve better sleep, more energy and a more intimate relationship with the man they fell in love with. Of course, this call to action applies regardless of who is the snorer in the relationship.

The solution is quick – and it’s also simple. Take my advice and buy him a stop snoring mouthpiece – an oral appliance like a sports gum shield that repositions the jaw just enough to open the airways. The results are immediate – and successful. Oral appliances of this type are NHS Approved and easily available online for a very small outlay – particularly compared to the benefits that they bring to the relationship and each individual.

John Redfern

Shift work, poor sleep patterns, and ill health are related

Doctors have been worried for years that our 24/7 lifestyle culture could have unintended consequences for human health with more than four million people – 17 per cent of employees – in the UK now working shifts.

A research study done at the University of Surrey showed that night shifts triple the risk of heart disease while mental health problems, cancer, depression, diabetes, obesity and strokes have also been linked to poor sleeping habits including heavy bouts of snoring. Not surprisingly, this is called Shift work sleep disorder.

Shift work sleep disorder

Shift work sleep disorder is trouble sleeping because you work nights or rotating shifts. You also may have this problem if you have trouble staying awake or alert when you are supposed to be working your shift. You may not be able to sleep during the day, and you may not feel adequately rested with the sleep that you do get.

DJ at work in a club

Shift work sleep disorder involves a problem with your body’s 24-hour internal clock, or circadian rhythm. Light and dark help your body know when to be active and when to rest. Light is a cue to be awake, while dark tells your body to sleep. When you work at night and sleep during the day, your body’s internal clock needs to reset to let you sleep during the day. Sometimes that’s hard to do.

This sleep disorder usually is a problem for people who work all night. But people who work an early morning shift-for example, starting at 4 a.m. – also may have sleep problems. Rotating shift work also can be hard. In these shifts, people work the day shift on some days and the night shift on others or it can change each week.

Many people that work nights get plenty of restful sleep during the day. Some people are “night owls,” and they adjust well to working at night. So getting enough good sleep is not a problem for everyone who works nights.

The research into night shift sleep patterns

To assess the effect on the body of this disruption, researchers placed a panel of participants on a 28-hour day schedule without a natural light-dark cycle. As a result their sleep-wake cycle was delayed by four hours each day until they were sleeping 12 hours out of sync with a normal day. Blood samples showed that after this experiment the volunteers had a six-fold reduction in the number of genes that displayed a ‘circadian rhythm’ – a rhythm with an approximately 24 hour period.

All the participants were aged in their 20’s and the sleep study was carried out in very carefully controlled laboratory conditions. This research may help us understand the negative health outcomes associated with shift work, jet lag and other conditions in which the rhythms of our genes are disrupted and it may be very relevant for conditions in which our body clocks are altered such as in ageing.

The overall conclusions

The main findings were that shift work could damage almost 1,500 genes, explaining why it has been linked to such a wide range of health problems, and this disruption to the timing of sleep, also caused by jet lag, is feared to increase the risk of breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses.

John Redfern