Bruxism and Teeth Grinding is a major problem – and growing fast

A recent medical report has indicated that about one in four people with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) suffer from teeth grinding, particularly nocturnal bruxism, and it is more common in men. Evidence shows that stress and anxiety play significant roles in this growing problem.

Bruxism SleepPro has the answer

Figures produced by British dentists say teeth clenching and grinding is on the rise. In fact, they report a 30% increase in bruxism over the last 5 years. Many dentists blame stress and the inability to cope with it. They say that whist we sleep, a lot of our worries – even if they are only in our subconscious mind – can lead to clenching and teeth grinding.

Bruxism however is not confined solely to OSA sufferers and some studies have suggested that as many as 10% of the total population may be affected. This figure may be significantly higher as many cases of bruxism, just like sleep apnoea, are not reported.

Colgate, a leader in the toothpaste industry, recently posted on their blog the top three ways to treat Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding. The three highlighted solutions were to talk to your dentist about jaw alignment, get a mouth guard and to let go of negative stress.

The article goes on to state that “stress, anxiety, smoking, heavy alcohol, caffeine, depression and sleep disorders are all possible causes of teeth grinding according to the Bruxism Association”.

The Bruxism Association also explains that the most common symptom of teeth grinding is a headache. Other symptoms may include muscle aches, enlargement of facial muscles, discomfort of the jaw and stiffness in one’s neck or shoulders.

Sufferers of bruxism may experience eroded enamel, making teeth vulnerable to tooth sensitivity. Although Colgate offers special toothpaste for sensitive teeth, they hope to educate readers so that their teeth do not become eroded.

One of the easiest solutions recommended by the Colgate article to eliminate Bruxism is the use of a mouth guard, also known as a night guard that is specifically used to prevent teeth grinding. When purchasing a night guard for teeth grinding, their recommendation is that it is important to get one that can be moulded for your specific teeth.

Although a relationship has been established between bruxism, sleep apnoea, and stress, many dentists are also noticing that teeth grinding is a problem among people who have narrow arch width, especially in the upper jaw. Dentists say correcting the arch has been known to help with both grinding and the recurrent risk of sleep apnoea. Studies out of the University of Montreal indicate that a narrow arch is a “primary risk factor” for bruxism in children and adults.

Grinding teeth can lead to enamel erosion, which in turn can lead to cavities, so it is something that dentists are always looking for when people come in for regular check-ups. Grinding and clenching teeth can happen unconsciously and cause a range of problems.

The signs and symptoms of bruxism can be subtle and may include:

  • Audible grinding or clenching at night, usually noticed by a partner
  • Flattened, worn or chipped teeth* Sensitive teeth – especially to hot or cold food
  • Facial pain or headaches in the temple region
  • Increased yellowing of teeth as the enamel is worn away
  • Sore or tight jaw muscles
  • Earache – even though the ear is not affected, jaw problems can present with ear symptoms.

Doctors and dentists don’t fully understand why some people are “bruxers” and others aren’t, but if you suffer this way then take you should take the right steps immediately with a customised night guard before the problem gets worse  – and also gets much more expensive.

John Redfern


Do you think you have sleep apnea? It varies in form and there are four main types of treatment.

Good sleep is critical to good health. But what if someone stops breathing for short pauses in the middle of the night, breathes shallowly, snorts, snores, gasps for air, or breathes infrequently?  This is known as sleep apnoea and it could be contributing to a great number of health issues. Those disruptions through the night may last from 30 seconds to several minutes and may occur hundreds of times. This results in a lack of oxygen to all tissues, but this particularly includes the brain.

Apnea and snoring

It can be tricky to diagnose, as there is no blood test for it. What’s needed is for someone to be sleeping in the same room to notice the snoring, gasping, snorting, and pauses through the night, in order to raise concern.

It occurs in two types, which differ in how serious they are, although both have major implications for health if untreated. Obstructive sleep apnoea is the most common form, with central sleep apnoea being less common.

Someone with obstructive sleep apnoea has an airway that becomes partially or fully blocked during sleep due to either excess weight, large tonsils compressing the area, or simply to anatomical defects.  Central sleep apnoea on the other hand occurs when the part of the brain that handles breathing does not correctly communicate with the muscle required for breathing, resulting in pauses or infrequent breaths while sleeping. A combination of the two can occur but is not common,

In all cases the body receives less oxygen than it needs, and it responds by releasing the hormones involved with stress such as cortisol and adrenaline.

The increase in these hormones coupled with a lack of oxygen can put a person with sleep apnoea at higher risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, irregular heartbeats, and heart failure. These people often also wake up with a headache, are very tired, and experience brain fog through the day, due to this lack of oxygen and quality sleep.

Some people have sleep apnoea in a mild or even moderate form that might be quite subtle, in that their snoring or pauses doesn’t wake up others, yet they themselves wake feeling tired and unrested without knowing why. Others with more severe sleep apnoea are often told that their snoring sounds like a freight train, or their own gasping for air wakes them up, such that they feel like they were choking.

Doctors and researchers have described the recent continuous growth of sleep apnoea as an epidemic. It is well established in men, but is showing rapid increases amongst women and it is estimated to affect somewhere between 25% and 30% of adults, but often undiagnosed and untreated.

The key telltale sign is snoring. Sufferers may also gasp for air and choke briefly whilst sleeping, but have no recall of it when waking up. They will usually feel sleepy during the day, be tired, and as a result often irritable too.

CPAP

Historically the main treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnoea has always been to keep the airway open via a mask. The CPAP mask and machine (continuous positive airway pressure) has been around since the early 1980’s and this is highly effective – but there are problems.

Patients often reject it for various reasons that include discomfort, dry mouth, noise disturbance, claustrophobia, and of course it doesn’t travel well.

Surgery

This may involve removal of the adenoids or excess flesh, or be one of the recent pacemaker type of implants that place a generator in the upper chest which has an electrical stimulation lead to the neck to keep the airways open. This is usually only for those severe cases that reject CPAP.

Positional Therapy

Most sleep apnoea patients suffer worst when they lie on their back causing the tongue to fall back and obstructing the airway. The old method was a tennis ball sewn into the back of the pyjama jacket but special pillows are now available, both for users of oral appliances and CPAP users too.

Dental Appliance Therapy

Often called an Oral Appliance or mouthpiece, this treatment makes use of something called an M.A.D. (mandibular adjustment device) – a simple well fitting gum shield that is comfortable to wear and highly effective. They work by moving the jaw forward slightly, which then opens the airway; breathing is smooth and continuous, and snoring stops immediately.

This is by far the most popular and the easiest to use. It’s comfortable to wear, shapes itself to your dental profile and has proved effective in 98% of cases. It has the added advantage of being easy to take wherever you go – either away on business, or on the family holiday.

Quality mouthpieces are now highly recommended by the NHS for all who snore, and also for cases of mild to moderate sleep apnoea and they are now even proposed as a replacement for CPAP intolerance.

 

John Redfern


Stop snoring appliances proved to lower blood pressure and save lives

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects millions of people, even children and teenagers and is often called a ’silent disease’ because you usually don’t know you have it; there may be no outward symptoms or signs, so monitoring your blood pressure is critical.

Snoring and high blood pressure

 

Nearly one-third of people who have high blood pressure are totally unaware.  It rarely has noticeable symptoms, but if untreated it increases your risk of heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, stroke, eye disease, erectile dysfunction or even dementia.

 It has now been proved that Mandibular advancement devices (MADs) and continuous airway pressure (CPAP) are equally effective therapies for reducing blood pressure in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), and this was confirmed by a recent new analysis.

Daniel J. Bratton, PhD, of the Department of Pulmonology, University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, and colleagues found that there was a distinct parallel in how these two devices affected blood pressure and the results of their work appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association on December 1, 2015.

For those suffering from heavy snoring, or OSA, the disrupted sleep and the reduction of oxygen getting to the brain can contribute significantly to high blood pressure, but using either of the two common treatments for the condition can lower blood pressure effectively. A comparison of the two treatments — continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and mandibular advancement devices (MADs) — showed that each produces a modest but valuable reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure rates.

CPAP and MADs not only reduce the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea such as sleepiness, but also lower blood pressure,” said Dr. Malcolm Kohler, chair of respiratory medicine at the University Hospital of Zurich.

OSA is the leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness, and can cause high blood pressure, which raises heart disease risk, the agency says.

Mandibular advancement devices work by pushing the jaw and tongue forward to keep the airway open during sleep. In continuous positive airway pressure, patients wear a facemask hooked up to a device that produces mild air pressure to keep the airway open.

Some patients find it difficult to adapt to CPAP, Kohler said. Some have problems wearing the facemask, others can’t get used to the noise of the compressor and some can’t abide either. “MADs are now considered as an alternative treatment to the more widely used CPAP, especially in patients who fail to adapt to CPAP treatment,” Kohler added. “MADs work better in mild to moderate sleep apnea.”

In the UK, over 6 million people are unaware they have high blood pressure, yet it affects more than 1 in 4 adults. Left unmanaged, it can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems, including coronary artery disease and high blood pressure. Some 2 million patients are known to have OSA, with millions of others going undiagnosed.

In the USA the figures are even higher with 75 million American adults having high blood pressure; that’s one in every three adults, but only 52% of them have it under control. The prevalence of high blood pressure is higher among non-Hispanic black adults compared with non-Hispanic white and Mexican-American adults and increases greatly with age.

High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 360,000 Americans in 2014. That’s nearly 1,000 deaths each day and costs the nation $46 billion each year including the cost of health care services, medications, and missed days of work.

In Australia,10% of adults are estimated to have high blood pressure, but this may be an underestimate as this is based on self-reported data. An earlier study that measured the blood pressure of participants found that almost one in three men and one in four women over the age of 25 had high blood pressure or were on medication for hypertension.

The only way of knowing there is a problem is to have your blood pressure checked and all adults should have their blood pressure checked regularly and having this done is easy and could save your life and safeguard your health. Using an MAD, or mouthpiece, will do just the same so act now.

John Redfern

 


We’re losing the war with obesity – especially women and children

We may not be heading out to one of the many fast food restaurants as much as we used to, but our obesity rate is still rising. The battle of the bulge is still a losing one, according to several new reports released this November.

Obesity and snoring

Coupled with this fact science is showing that there is a direct link between disturbed sleep and weight gain in many individuals and snoring, sleep apnoea, and restless leg syndrome play a big part in these disturbed nights.

Very simply, having less than a full night’s rest could provoke hormonal changes in your body that are linked to obesity. Getting fewer than six hours of sleep a night is directly linked with increases in the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin, decreases in insulin sensitivity which is a risk factor for diabetes, and decreases in the hormone leptin which is key for energy balance and food intake. The result is often late night snacking.

Results show that if someone stops snoring and has a better night’s sleep they not only feel more refreshed the next day but have a lower appetite.

The first report found that adult obesity rates have risen in the past three years, after an earlier period of relative stability. Furthermore, women have definitively become the heavier gender, with a 38% obesity rate versus 34% for men. About the only saving grace is that rates of teenage obesity have remained level, at 17% but this is still at a dangerous high pre-adulthood.

Figures are based on a survey of 5,000 people and required the participants, to undergo physical examinations. It allowed the researchers to accurately calculate the subjects’ obesity rate, as judged by their Body Mass Index.

The 2014-15 report produced for English Primary school children however is far more alarming showing one in ten children to be obese at the start of primary school in England last year, rising to one in five at end of that time.

The figures come from the government’s National Child Measurement Programme for England, and as standard procedure, all children at English primary schools are weighed in Reception and at the end of Year 6.

Although figures for Reception children have fallen slightly, the figures for obesity in Year 6 are on the rise. In addition it was found that children living in the most deprived areas were twice as likely to be obese as children in affluent areas. Campaigners said the figures should act as a wake-up call.

By measuring children’s weight and height and calculating their BMI (body mass index) they can be put into one of four categories: underweight, healthy weight, overweight or obese.

Among children aged four and five in Reception year, 9.1% were classified as obese but in Year 6, 19.1% of children were obese – a big increase on the figures from eight years ago.

While one in four or five children was overweight or obese in Reception, one in three was either overweight or obese in Year 6.

The London boroughs of Southwark, Newham, Lambeth and Tower Hamlets topped the table for obesity among children aged 10 to 11 and the figures showed 28% of Year 6 pupils in Southwark were classed as obese and 44% were either obese or overweight. Wolverhampton had the largest number of obese 10 and 11-year-olds outside London and Waverley in Surrey had the smallest number of obese pupils – 5% in Reception and 9% in Year 6.

Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s director of cancer prevention, said the numbers were alarming.

“Overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults, and being overweight could cause 10 types of cancer. There’s an urgent need for the government to tackle obesity, starting with junk food marketing.”

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “We now have more children than ever before leaving primary school overweight or obese and this is simply unacceptable.”

Lifestyles must change for adults to set the example; diets must improve, less undisturbed sleep is vital, and much of this is in our control. Eat healthier, drink less, exercise more and do things immediately like stopping snoring.

John Redfern


OSA is more common in men – but it’s often more dangerous in women

Sleep apnoea, which causes pauses in people’s breathing during the night, is usually associated with snoring middle-aged men. But women experience it, too, and may suffer from poorer heart health than men, according to a recent study in the journal Circulation.

sleep disorder, insomnia. young blonde woman lying on the bed awake

Snoring is one of the most common signs of sleep apnoea.

“The sleep apnoea seems to have a stronger influence on women than men,” says Dr. Amil Shah, an author of the paper and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Shah and his colleagues looked at 752 men and 893 women, with an average age of 62.5. At the beginning of the study, none of the participants had experienced any sort of cardiac problems. Then the researchers looked at the same people about 14 years later to see if anyone had experienced coronary disease, heart failure, and cardiovascular disease.

Both men and women who had obstructive sleep apnoea had higher troponin T levels – a marker in the blood that indicates heart injury – and larger, thicker hearts, and heart failure. But when the researchers checked for other diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, only the women experienced high troponin T levels, heart failure, and thicker hearts.

“This finding implies that sleep apnoea potentially has a much more serious independent effect in women than men,” says Shah. “It is important to look for sleep apnoea, and it is important to treat it as early as possible.”

However the study provides real evidence that women need to take their sleep seriously, especially after menopause when women’s rate of sleep apnoea increases.

Good undisturbed sleep is critical, and just last month, a survey by the University of Leeds found that 25 per cent of people get less than five hours’ sleep a night. It noted a distinct mismatch between how much sleep people intended to get – and what they actually got.

A run of poor sleep can have a potentially profound effect on the internal workings of the human body. The activity of hundreds of genes was altered when people’s sleep was cut to less than six hours a day for a week, and the results helped explain how poor sleep damaged health.

Heart disease, diabetes, obesity and poor brain function have all been linked to substandard sleep due to such things as snoring and sleep apnoea, but what lack of sleep did to alter health was still unknown.

So researchers at the University of Surrey analysed the blood from people after they had had plenty of sleep, up to 10 hours each night for a week, and compared the results with samples after a week of fewer than six hours a night.  They found that more than 700 genes were altered by the shift. Each contains the instructions for building a protein, so those that became more active produced more proteins – changing the chemistry of the body.

Prof Colin Smith, from the University of Surrey, said in a BBC interview: “There was quite a dramatic change in activity in many different kinds of genes.”

Areas such as the immune system and how the body responds to damage and stress were affected. A different study has also shown that women who worked long years of night shift work had double the risk of breast cancer compared with those who had never worked night shifts.

Health-wise, some of the major effects of sleep loss are:

  • You will be more likely to get colds and viruses
  • You become tired and irritable, and lose your sense of humour
  • You’ll yawn more and speaking can be slurred
  • Any aches and pains will seem worse
  • You’re more easily affected by alcohol
  • You will be probably eat more than usual and weight gain adds to the problem as it increases your likelihood to snore
  • Memory can be affected with early onset of Alzheimer’s
  • Daytime drowsiness is common and dangerous if driving

Scientists from Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Manchester, Leeds and Surrey Universities have all warned that cutting sleep is leading to “serious health problems” and they say people and governments need to take the problem seriously, including treating snoring and sleep apnoea as early as possible.

John Redfern


Lack of sleep caused by OSA increases the risk of cancer

Although it has long been known that insomnia, parasomnia and sleep apnoea are associated with many other serious ailments, little research has associated these sleep conditions with the risk of cancer.

Senior woman undergoing CT test scan.

However an extensive new study where researchers have explored the relationship between sleep problems and the risk of cancer changes that.

Two million patient records were analysed in order to determine their risk for sleep conditions and were then divided into insomnia, parasomnia and sleep apnoea groups. The selected patients did not have cancer prior to the study and were grouped based on the same age, gender and year.

The link between insomnia and cancer

Insomnia is a condition that impairs a person’s ability to fall or stay asleep and has been linked with higher incidences of breast cancer and colorectal adenomas, a precursor to colon cancer. Sleep disturbances have also been associated with lung cancer and psychological distress, revealing that sleep disorders are associated with a higher risk of cancer.

Parasomnia is a group of sleep disorders that includes things such as REM disorder, sleep walking, sleep terrors, sleep talking and nightmares.

Obstructive sleep apnoea is a common and serious sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing during sleep. The airway repeatedly becomes blocked, limiting the amount of air that reaches your lungs, causing you to snore loudly or make choking noises as you try to breathe. Your brain and body becomes oxygen deprived and you may wake up. This may happen a few times a night, or in more severe cases, several hundred times a night.

For the study researchers selected two million individuals from Health Insurance Records but participants were excluded from the study if they had a case of cancer or a sleep disorder prior to 1999.

The research uncovered a significant increase in breast cancer in those with insomnia, parasomnia and sleep apnoea. Nasal cancer and prostate cancer were also shown to be higher in those with sleep apnoea, compared to those without the sleep disorder.

The researchers concluded that there was an association between cancer and sleep disorders and stressed the importance of proper sleep and achieving good sleep quality in order to reduce the risk of cancer.

Sleep deprivation and cancer risk

Lack of sleep because of OSA continues to be linked with other negative health effects. Aside from robbing you of the necessary energy you need to get through your day, sleep deprivation has been linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, poor memory and diabetes.

But why does sleep deprivation lead to cancer? Well, it has been said that sleep deprivation increases inflammation in the body, which disrupts normal immune functions. When we sleep our body naturally produces melatonin. Melatonin not only helps us sleep, but has antioxidant effects to prevent cellular damage. Without proper sleep we cannot produce enough melatonin to help our cells, thus making them prone to damage.

Below are the main types of cancer associated with sleep deprivation.

  • Prostate cancer – men who suffer from insomnia have been found to be at higher risk for prostate cancer.
  • Colon cancer – individuals who receive less than six hours of sleep a night have been shown to develop colon cancer more so than those who get adequate sleep.
  • Breast cancer – after studying those with breast cancer, researchers found those with poor sleep had breast cancer two years prior to diagnosis. Additionally, postmenopausal women who experience poor sleep are at higher risk of recurring breast cancer.

How to get a good night sleep and control OSA

  • CPAP – using a pump and air cylinder that forces air into your lungs all night via a facemask – used mostly by chronic sufferers
  • Oral Appliance Therapy – a mouthpiece, similar to a sports gumshield, which is specially made to fit you. It is comfortable, effective, and by far the most widely recommended medically. Used by mild to moderate sufferers and stops snoring immediately.

John Redfern

 


Doctors solve high abandonment of CPAP by prescribing mouthpieces

Lots of people who think they are getting enough sleep, may actually have sleep apnoea, and some adults have the classic signs of loud snoring and broken sleep for years without knowing their airways have been obstructed.

In the past decade there has been a big jump in the number of people being diagnosed with night-time respiratory problems and sleeping disorders, but It is estimated that Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) affects about 5 per cent of adults in the UK, with the condition being more common in males.

Man wearing a mask for treating sleep apnea. Mildly obese man suffering from sleep apnea and having a CPAP treatment

Man wearing a mask for treating sleep apnea. Mildly obese man suffering from sleep apnea and having a CPAP treatment

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, or OSA, is characterized by seriously disrupted breathing when sleeping, which cuts off oxygen to the brain as often as 100 times per hour in the most severe cases. The consequences of the disease are becoming more and more apparent, with links to heart disease, cancer, strokes and diabetes.

However, patients with OSA face a huge issue: 50% of them abandon the main form of treatment within three months of starting it.

The continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is the first line of therapy for severe cases of OSA in patients, but it has serious downsides too. In most cases, CPAP has a mask that users wear over their mouth and nose. It has historically been a loud and invasive treatment, forcing patients into particular sleep positions. The airflow created by the bedside pump can be cold, and feel dehydrating too, and it causes claustrophobia for some.

A recent news article quoted a patient who said that his inability to use the machine wasn’t even a conscious one.

“I would just rip it off, within 5 minutes of me falling asleep,” he said.

His apnoea worsened. He suffered night terrors when his breathing became obstructed, extreme exhaustion during the day from repeated wake-ups, drowsiness while driving and his blood pressure spiked. Finally he started to use a custom-made mouthpiece to help support his jaw and to keep his airway open. He says he still wakes up two or three times per night, but for the first time in 20 years he’s waking up refreshed.

“I really started to get some really noticeable relief,” he said.

Numerous research studies have said that the current rise in obesity rates was also driving up the figures. Over the last 25 years we’ve seen a significant expansion in the waistlines of the general community, and that’s led to increased fat deposits within the upper airway and to increased incidents of sleep apnoea as a result.

Researchers stated that there certainly is a link between ageing and the propensity of the airway to collapse. Certainly all the structures within the body start to get a bit floppy as we get older, and the same occurs for the upper airways.

The realization that the CPAP machine has such a high abandonment rate has fuelled research into identifying OSA’s causes more directly and tailoring therapies for each individual patient. So for patients who’ve tried CPAP machines in the past and can’t tolerate them, it’s worth looking at the innovation in treating OSA that has evolved over the past few years.

Mouthpieces – the approved solution for those who dislike CPAP

Mouthpieces are technically called mandibular repositioning devices (MRD’s), or mandibular adjustment devices (MAD’s) because they move the jaw forward which opens the throat and keeps the airway open.  A big added benefit of the mouthpiece is ease of use for travel, unlike CPAP.

There is a wide range of medically approved oral appliances available from companies such as SleepPro, who are Britain’s leading provider of snoring solutions. SleepPro products are accredited by the British National Health service (NHS) and have been exhaustively tested in UK Hospitals where they are supplied to patients for both snoring and OSA.

SleepPro offers a choice of several starter appliances, including the market leading Starter appliance, Easifit, which after being immersed in hot water will shape to your mouth for an excellent and comfortable fit – a system they term ‘Boil’n’Bite’ that has revolutionised the fitting of mouthpieces. A similar appliance exists specially for women.

To this they have added micro-adjustable devices such as Contour that will improve the effectiveness and give added comfort, and additionally, they supply fully tailor-made appliances such as the SleepPro Custom.

All of these oral appliances have excellent pricing points and have money back guarantees. Those appliances that are custom moulded have very high effectiveness rates, and are much cheaper than similar appliances supplied by dentists. They are the next recommended line of therapy for patients who can’t tolerate CPAP machines.

All SleepPro products are British made in their own dental laboratories and are available for online purchase without prescription.

John Redfern


How your sleeping position affects your health – and snoring.

There are no two ways about it. Sleep is crucial for your health. It bolsters your immune system so you can fight off illness and gives your body a chance to repair and reset. The subconscious mind relaxes, and it helps to keep weight in check. Adequate sleep is linked to many benefits, including better memory, curbing inflammation, and even a happy marriage.

Sleep positions

Since we sleep, or try to sleep, for a third of our lives, it’s going to have a significant impact on our day-to-day. In a recent survey in Britain on sleep positions, people responded to questions about their sleep habits.

Sleeping position #1: On your back

Sleeping on your back is the best position to get proper rest. It maintains the back, neck and spine in a neutral position, making it better for your body’s alignment, especially if you’re prone to back pain, stiffness or problems. The back position is also good for circulation and preventing acid reflux. When the head is elevated by the pillow your stomach sits below your oesophagus so acid or food can’t come back up.

The back-sleeper also has the advantage when it comes to wrinkle prevention, simply because nothing is pushing against your face during the night, creating those dents and creases.

The back position with both arms straight was the first choice for best sleep position for just 8% of those studied. However, the back is not best for those with a tendency to snore as the base of the tongue falls to the back wall of the throat, which causes a vibrating sound as you breathe.

Sleeping position #2: On your side

Side sleeping reduces snoring. Next to the back, sleeping in this position is good for your overall health and lets you spoon with your partner as you drift off gently. Even better, if you sleep on your left side, it helps to ease heartburn and acid reflux. Also, sleeping on your left side is the best position during pregnancy; it boosts circulation to the heart, so it’s also a boost for the baby. Pregnant women should not sleep on their back because of the extra pressure and weight this puts on the spine.

Sleeping beauties beware; side sleeping is not good for facial wrinkles, since half of your face is pushed into your pillow. It was the favourite for 26%.

Sleeping position #3: Curled into foetal position

Retreating into the foetal position, with your knees pulled up high and your chin tucked into your chest may seem like the ultimate security blanket, but it’s not so good for your health. It restricts your deep diaphragmatic breathing and puts pressure on your organs, not to mention your spine. People with an arthritic back or joints will feel more irritation, but straightening out a little can help make this position work better for you. In the foetal position, face wrinkles will be aggravated, although snoring could improve.

In the survey of sleep habits, “foetal” was the most popular among both men and women, with 41% choosing it as their favourite.

Sleeping position #4: On your stomach

Sleeping on your stomach is bad for your spine although 25% sleep this way. Twisting the neck and face sideways all night on the pillow causes aches and pains and other discomfort. It puts pressure on muscles and joints that can snowball by irritating nerves, resulting in numbness and tingling.

Facedown keeps your upper airways more open. So if you snore and aren’t suffering from neck or back pain, it’s fine to try sleeping in this position.

Sleeping solo for relationship harmony

It’s widely accepted that sleeping in separate beds can be great for a relationship because both partners experience a better night’s rest and won’t be disturbed by frequent movement, noise, or pulling of the bedding.

Sleep researchers say that 30 to 40% of couples sleep in separate beds, although they may not broadcast it to their friends. Studies show that people tend to be more short-tempered with their spouse, taking out their sleep-deprived frustration on their nearest and dearest. They’re more tired, more selfish, and less able to put in the work to make a relationship go well.

Sleep is important, and it leads to better health and marriage harmony.

John Redfern