Where do we find most of the UK’s snorers?

A new survey shows that Scotland has more snorers, as a percentage of the population, than anywhere else in the United Kingdom.

Scotland topped the list of snorers with 61% saying either they or their partner snored. The East of England was second with 55%, West Midlands third with 52% and the North East, perhaps surprisingly, had the lowest figure as a snoring region with an incredibly low 9%.

UK Snorers

In total, almost 2.500 people in the UK aged 18 and over were interviewed. All of them confirmed that they were in a co-habiting relationship and were questioned about their sleeping patterns, habits and those of their partner.

The respondents were asked a series of questions that included ‘Does your partner ever wake you up in the night?’
Almost three quarters of respondents, 72%, stated ‘yes’ to this question that was split into two main categories. ‘With their snoring’ accounted for 42% and ‘moving around’ for the other 26%. Also, 13% admitted that at some time they had woken themselves up because of their loud snoring.

What is it like to sleep with a snorer?

It’s estimated that there are around 15 million snorers in the UK, and over two-thirds of these are men. Research carried out by the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association reveals that two thirds of partners normally only manage between three and five hours sleep a night. Those sharing a bed with a snorer can endure a noise that can reach 100 decibels. So what impact does snoring have on a partner, and what can be done about it?

A leading consultant ENT Surgeon commented: “Sleep takes up between a quarter and a third of our lives and serves to refresh and restore our bodies, yet snoring is damaging for so many.”

“Severe snoring is not only socially disruptive to partners, and often leads to couples being forced to sleep in separate rooms at night. It can also signal more severe sleep disorders such as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea with which patients stop breathing periodically at night, waking up grumpy and tired with early morning headaches.”

“If you or your partner snore so badly that you cannot even share the same room, you need to do something about it immediately.”

One of the principal causes of snoring is obesity, which affects 25% of UK adults and 20% of children. Obesity rates have nearly doubled over the past 10 years in England.  Obesity has recently been described as the ‘new Smoking’ by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in terms of its impact on health and the costs to the NHS.

In England 62% of adults were overweight or obese in 2012, which equates to 57% of women and 67% of men. Being overweight is lowest in the 16-24 years age group, and higher in the older age groups among both men and women. The UK population is growing, ageing and becoming more obese. Health care professionals should take every opportunity to address this growing epidemic of obesity and its associated problems.

John Redfern


Snoring and your sex life

A new study of UK consumers has found that 89% of people whose partners snore lose sleep as a result – and on average as much as 1.5 hours per night. With sleep being interrupted, men and women who have partners who snore are left tired and ratty, not to mention not in the mood to make love.

couple on the bed

In fact, more than half (54%) describe their partner’s snoring as irritating with 47% of couples arguing about their partner’s snoring at least once a week.  The situation is so bad for some that 25% had even decamped to a different bed or another room to get some sleep when their partner snored.

Nineteen per cent of respondents have even thought about breaking up with their partners due to snoring, and it is well documented that snoring is the third biggest cause of divorce after infidelity and money problems.

Some other interesting key facts from the study include:

  • More than 1 in 10 couples stated that snoring has had an impact on their sex life – either because they are too tired to make love or because they find their partner’s snoring a turn off.
  • Men find women snoring more unattractive if they snore than vice versa (9.8% compared to 3.7%)
  • More women than men take direct action with 10% of those asked admitting to pushing their snoring partners off the bed verses 3.7% of men
  • Over half of partners give the snorer a dig in the ribs – the most common preventative snoring tactic

If this is you or your partner then do something about it now – it’s so easy to stop snoring overnight with an NHS Approved SleepPro mouthpiece.

Not only could it save your relationship – it could save your life too.

John Redfern

The questionnaire for the study was designed by world-renowned sleep expert, Dr Chis Idzikowski, who is Director of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service, and President of the Sleep Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine.

 


CPAP usage proved to cause Weight Gain

Obstructive sleep apnoea is a common and serious disorder in which our breathing repeatedly stops for 10 seconds or more during sleep. The number of times that it stops per minute is referred to as the AHI index. The disorder results in decreased oxygen in the blood and can briefly awaken sleepers throughout the night.

Sleep Apnea

Mild to moderate OSA can now be treated by the use of an oral appliance, and recent NHS research from Papworth, the leading UK hospital for sleep disorders, states this quite clearly and recommends the use of a SleepPro Custom mouthpiece as the first choice in every way. Chronic sufferers must of course use CPAP – a pump and mask system that forces oxygen through the obstructed airway throughout the night.

It has been long known that obesity increases the risk for sleep apnoea and there is reasonable data demonstrating even a 10% increase in baseline weight corresponds to a > 30% increase in the AHI index and a 6 fold increase in the risk of developing moderate to severe OSA.  It is also known that the most appropriate treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is weight loss – a 10% weight loss predicts a 26% decrease in the AHI. score

The logical assumption had been that treating obstructive sleep apnea with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure would result in improved physiological parameters and help obese patients who wanted to lose weight to be more able to do so.  A new study demonstrates the opposite is true.

CPAP users showed an increase in BMI and gained weight.

While the degrees of BMI and weight gain were not large over the very short course of the research (BMI increased by over 0.13 and weight increased about 0.5 kg) the finding of any increases in both BMI and weight were highly discouraging.  Results were published in Thorax.

Sleep apnea has many different possible causes but in adults, the most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea is the excess weight and obesity mentioned above, which is associated with soft tissue of the mouth and throat. During sleep, when throat and tongue muscles are more relaxed, this soft tissue can cause the airway to become blocked.

More than half of people with obstructive sleep apnea are either already overweight or obese, which is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25-29.9 or 30.0 or above, respectively. In adults, excess weight is the strongest risk factor associated with obstructive sleep apnea.

Each unit increase in BMI is associated with a 14% increased risk of developing sleep apnea, and a 10% weight gain increases the odds of developing moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea by six times. Compared to normal-weight adults, those who are obese have a sevenfold increased risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea. But the impact of BMI on obstructive sleep apnea becomes less significant after the age of 60.

BMI isn’t the sole marker of obesity that is important. Men with a neck circumference that is above 17 inches (43 cms) and women with a neck circumference above 15 inches (38 cms) also have a significantly increased risk of developing obstructive sleep apnoea.

Regardless of age, untreated obstructive sleep apnoea can lead to serious complications, including cardiovascular disease, accidents, and premature death. So it’s important that anyone with signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea, especially loud snoring and repeated night-time awakenings followed by excessive daytime sleepiness — receive a medical evaluation.

Although modest weight loss improves obstructive sleep apnoea, it can be difficult for fatigued and sleepy patients to lose weight, so it is critical to treat the problem with the use of an oral appliance as soon as possible.

John Redfern

 


Treating obstructive sleep apnoea will help asthmatics

Trouble with breathing is becoming an increasingly widespread problem. Respiratory health worldwide is being challenged by poor air quality, substandard living conditions, and economic development. One result of this is a major increase in both asthma and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

Close-up of a young woman using asthma inhaler in the park

As pulmonary issues like asthma become more prevalent in our population, the links to other potentially related conditions have also gained clarity. A newly published study observed the link between patients diagnosed with asthma and those potentially developing obstructive sleep apnoea.

Much like asthmatic patients can be affected by apnoea, the authors of some major new research noted that those with sleep apnoea can have greater effects from asthma, and that the treatment of one helps the other.

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) occurs when a person stops breathing in their sleep due to blocked air passageways. It can also be responsible for excessive snoring. OSA and snoring typically occur because muscles and tissues in oral and nasal passages become too relaxed, leading to narrowed air passages. The condition can lead to severe health issues — and even sudden death — because of lack of oxygen to the brain.

Gasping for air during sleep, and teeth grinding are common symptoms of the disorder. Sleep apnoea can cause some individuals to stop breathing altogether for periods of 10 to 90 seconds or longer, and momentarily wake up at various times of the night, when left untreated,

OSA can heighten the risk of developing a variety of serious health issues, including heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, insomnia, memory loss, and diabetes. It can also be responsible for sudden cardiac death in sleep.

The research study into the Asthma & OSA relationship was conducted in the USA across 24 years, with a panel that underwent sleep studies every four years, and using respondents who were initially not suffering from OSA.

Over a thousand sleep studies were used on a panel that was 48% male and 52% female and had an average age of fifty years.

The key results were:

  • Of those who were diagnosed with asthma, over 25% developed OSA in the first four years alone which grew to twice that level over time.
  • Asthmatic patients who developed ‘new’ OSA in this way also reported habitual daytime sleepiness as a problem.
  • Amongst non- sufferers of asthma, newly developed levels of OSA were much lower at around 8% – although still a significant number.

While individually each condition presented its own set of challenges for treatment, the combined effect of both can be even more damaging.   “Accumulating evidence suggests a bidirectional relationship between asthma and OSA, whereby each disorder deleteriously influences the other,” the report said. “In cross-sectional epidemiologic studies, the prevalence of sleepiness, snoring, and sleep apnoea were significantly higher in participants with asthma.” Much like asthmatic patients can be affected by OSA, the authors noted that those with apnoea can have greater effects from asthma, and that the treatment of one can help the other.

Simple oral appliances go much of the way to improving the situation for sufferers of these two dangerous conditions and can event prevent the onset, as well as reverse OSA, if they are used early enough.

 

John Redfern