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

 


How to sleep better and prevent snoring and sleep apnoea

The average person spends one third of their life sleeping but studies suggest that almost half of us suffers from some form of sleep deprivation, with one half of that number doing nothing to help themselves sleep better.

Sleep deprivation, often caused by snoring, and in its worst form sleep apnoea, has been shown conclusively to contribute to depression, premature skin aging, increased stress, and serious impairment of both concentration and judgement. Worse still it is known to make a major contribution to diabetes, heart disease and strokes.

Sleeping Positions

While medication and therapy are possible solutions, getting better sleep may be as simple as finding the right sleep position and wearing a simple mouthpiece that will stop you snoring immediately.

You probably already know that the position you sleep in has a lot to do with how well you sleep — but did you know just how many pros and cons come along with each one? Of course, once we fall asleep, we may not have a lot of control over which position into which we curl our bodies… but it’s still kind of nice to know what’s going on while we’re asleep.

During sleep, our body should be resting not stressing and here are the best three positions for sleeping:

Side Sleeper
Pros – the foetal position, or sleeping on your side is the most widely used sleeping position. Some say that it is the most comfortable sleeping position because it reminds our body and brain of the comfort while inside our mother’s womb.  Sleeping on the side helps reduce acid reflux and heartburn. But which side is best?  For women who are pregnant, doctors suggest sleeping on the left because it is said to improve the circulation of the heart.
Cons – the first to suffer is the arm – right or left – whichever side you choose to lie on. The arm suffers numbness due to the compressed circulation in the blood vessels while the whole body rests upon it.

Stomach Sleeper – This can be usually observed in babies but this could not be done by pregnant women, for obvious reasons.
Pros – there are only two known advantages of sleeping in this position and those are the eradication of snoring and prevention for those people suffering with sleep apnoea.
Cons – a lot. Sleeping your stomach disrupts body functions while sleeping.  It is also one of the causes for spinal misalignment.  If you are suffering from lower back pain it may be because you have been sleeping this way. While sleeping on your stomach, the head is turned in order for you to breath.  This causes neck strains.  Chest pains can also be felt after sleeping in this position for long periods.
The cure – train yourself to sleep on your side. Put a pillow on your side to gently push your body to move while you sleep.  Or put a pillow below your hips to assist your spine while sleeping on stomach position.

Back Sleeper – the best position ever!
Pros – sleeping on your back has a lot of benefits especially for your spine. It maintains the alignment of your spine and neck. If you are worried about wrinkles then this position is best way to avoid getting them while you sleep since the face is devoid of any crushing.
Cons – for those suffering from snoring and sleep apnoea, sleeping on your back promotes this. Gravity is the culprit.  Sleeping on your back forces the tongue to move back, blocking air passages.  Using a good pillow works, but not too many, since a curved neck during sleep also blocks the air passageways.

We usually sleep in the position that we find most comfortable but during the night it changes, and most of the time, we wake up in a different position than the one in which we fell asleep.

Add the stop snoring mouthpiece to this – for which we have many times stressed the benefits – and blissful sleep awaits you followed by a refreshing feeling each morning.

John Redfern


Why Snoring Shouldn't Be Ignored

People who snore believe that their partners are the ones most affected by their nightly symphonies. After all, they’re the ones kept awake while the culprit remains blissfully unaware. But snoring can be more than just an annoyance; it can be a symptom of serious health problems that are both dangerous and life threatening.

Of course, there are many reasons why people snore and not all of them are chronic or hazardous to your health. If you sleep alone, you may not even be aware that you’re “sawing logs” on a regular basis. Here’s how to know if you or a loved one is at risk for snoring-related health problems and what to do about it.

dispositivo ortodontico apnea notturna donna adulta

Why We Snore Snoring can happen for a variety of reasons, but all are connected with the obstruction of the airway. Most often, muscles in the roof of the mouth, known as the soft palate, or the back of the throat, relax and partially block the flow of air.

This occurs when people sleep on their back instead of their side, after a few drinks before bed because alcohol relaxes muscles, or when they have nasal congestion due to allergies or a cold. In fact, about half of adults snore at least some of the time, and it’s usually not dangerous, because most of the time we still get enough air to function normally.

But other snoring triggers are harder to fix. For example, having an enlarged uvula (the ball of tissue hanging in the back of your mouth), a large tongue, or being overweight – especially for men, since they tend to gain weight around their necks. All these raise your risk for obstructive sleep apnoea, a condition in which the heart isn’t able to get enough oxygen to function properly.

Spotting Sleep Apnoea Symptoms Between 5 and 15 per cent of middle-aged adults probably suffer from sleep apnoea although it often goes undiagnosed and untreated. Unfortunately studies show strong associations between sleep apnoea and high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attacks and other cardiovascular conditions.

For people with sleep apnoea, airway obstruction is so severe that breathing slows to a trickle. It may even stop for seconds at a time. These episodes are called apnoeas, at which point the brain sends alert signals to the body, forcing a gasp, a gag or an extra powerful snore. A lot of people think sleep apnoea will cause them to suffocate, but the risk is the long-term damage that this can do.

Fluctuating oxygen levels throughout the night causes stress and damage to cells within your body when the body and brain are ideally supposed to be resting and recovering. It becomes much more of a cardiovascular problem than a respiratory one, and people with untreated sleep apnoea tend to develop these conditions years before they normally would.

When to Take Snoring Seriously So how do you know whether you have run-of-the-mill snoring or a more serious problem? If someone hears you sleep on a regular basis and notices that you periodically stop breathing for several seconds at a time, that’s a red flag. So is the volume of your snoring. If you can hear it clearly through a closed door, it’s a good sign that your body is probably working too hard to get sufficient oxygen.

If you don’t have a live-in partner or roommate to help you observe these things, you can still watch out for certain daytime symptoms. Because the condition doesn’t allow people to get the deep sleep they need, about two thirds of people with sleep apnoea experience excessive daytime sleepiness. If you can stop whatever you doing, just about any place and any time of day, and sit down and immediately fall asleep, that’s a problem.

Waking up feeling exhausted is also a sign, especially if that feeling doesn’t go away within 10 to 15 minutes of getting out of bed. People with untreated sleep apnoea may also have trouble getting high blood pressure under control, even with the help of medication.

How To Treat Sleep Apnoea The good news is that sleep apnoea is very treatable and easily diagnosed through observing these symptoms, or by being referred by your doctor to a sleep clinic.

Almost all cases can be treated by using an oral appliance at night. This is a mouthpiece that keeps your airway open by slightly repositioning your jaw. This will deal with most problems, but if left untreated and it becomes chronic, you’ll need a special device called a continuous positive-air pressure, or CPAP, which pumps air through a tube and a mask, into a patient’s nose and mouth while they sleep.

Be wise. Treat it early. Using a mouthpiece can avoid severe health problems later.

John Redfern


Looking after your health – for yourself

Britain’s A&E departments are in “a critical condition” – a message that has recently been carried on the front page of every national newspaper in the UK as they describe the severe capacity crisis that currently afflicts the NHS’s emergency service.

Patient numbers have soared at the A & E Departments of our hospitals, many waiting longer than four hours, and the Ambulances have queued outside due to the blockage – effectively taking them out of service. The result overall is that 16 NHS Hospitals have declared ‘major incidents’ as they struggle to cope in Canute-like fashion.

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The papers underline five key issues that it says have driven this crisis and these are the high levels of winter illness, cuts to social care, an ageing population, long waits to see GPs, and referrals from the NHS telephone helpline on the number 111.

They are all things that it appears we can do little about, particularly in the short term, but maybe we should ask ourselves if we could help ourselves more. Can we keep ourselves healthier, and stay free of some of the more serious illnesses, and in doing so improve and extend our lives in many ways. Not only would this help us to maintain our lives better, but in many cases ease the burden on those who need to give us care – whether that be our GP, a hospital, or our family.

Two of the fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle are having a good diet and getting enough quality sleep. Our dietary intake is something that receives great attention and lots of advice – but this tends to happen much less with sleep – and that affects our health significantly. How often have you heard someone say they’d love a good night’s sleep?

Research shows us that the main problem in achieving this is snoring.

The snoring restricts and interrupts the continuing supply of oxygen to the brain and this is the cause of many serious long-term illnesses, such as Diabetes, cardiovascular problems such as strokes or heart attacks, memory related illnesses and many others – particularly those related to daytime fatigue. These facts are stated on many leading health websites.

The sounds made when a person is sleeping and the tissues in their airway move, strike each other, and vibrate is the medical definition of snoring. Children as well as adults snore and it is thought that almost all children snore occasionally and about 10 percent snore just about every night. In adults, approximately 45 percent snore once in a while and 25 percent do so frequently.

It is estimated that half of snorers have what is called primary snoring and the other half have a serious condition called sleep apnoea.

Primary snorers typically do not have cardiovascular disease, difficulty with concentration nor are they tired during their day. The main problem primary snorers have is annoying the people around them while they sleep and giving them disturbed nights causing tiredness and irritability. However people with obstructive sleep apnoea may have all of these problems.

The solution is simple, inexpensive, and effective, and is recommended by medical experts, GP’s and hospitals worldwide. A simple stop snoring mouthpiece worn at night works in almost every case and brings immediate results. Oral appliances such as those from SleepPro are NHS Approved and available without prescription, and their leading Custom mouthpiece was recently rated Number 1 by Papworth Hospital in their research. As a result of this, it is now recommended by them as the best mouthpiece to stop snoring and also to treat cases of mild to moderate sleep apnoea.

Help yourself by stopping snoring or you may live – or even die – to regret it.

 

John Redfern

 

 


Peace and Family Harmony at Christmas

Snoring doesn’t just interfere with the snorer’s sleep. When it comes to couples, one person’s snoring often means sleep trouble for two. And it isn’t only sleep that can suffer. Snoring can put great strain on relationships. A snoring problem often creates not only tiredness but also frustration and resentment between couples. It can interfere with sexual and emotional intimacy, and can push couples to sleep in separate bedrooms.

Family Sitting By Christmas Gifts

There are many good reasons to treat snoring, including restoring sleep quality, guarding against risks to health and improving your daytime functional efficiency, but protecting the happiness and intimacy of your relationship is another important reason to treat a snoring problem.

How can snoring cause so much trouble within a relationship? Snoring, a form of sleep-disordered breathing, interferes with sleep quality and sleep quantity, both for the person who snores, and, often, for the person who sleeps with a snorer. Poor quality and insufficient sleep interfere with our thinking skills and judgment. Lack of sleep can make us irritable and short-tempered. Poor sleep diminishes our ability to manage conflict well, increasing negative feelings and reducing our ability to empathize. Lack of sleep has been shown in scientific research to make couples feel less appreciative of each other, and to experience greater feelings of selfishness. Sound like a recipe for relationship difficulties? It is.

What’s more, the noise of the snoring itself can become a focal point of both frustration and shame within the dynamic of a couple’s relationship. The person who is kept awake, or who has to shuffle off to the spare bedroom in the middle of the nigh, may grow to feel resentful of his or her snoring partner. The snorer, meanwhile, often feels guilty, ashamed, and helpless about their noisy, disruptive sleep. These feelings can be a real source of irritation and isolation for even very loving couples.

It’s no surprise that snoring often sends couples to separate bedrooms in search of undisturbed rest. Some couples may find that sleeping apart suits them well, and doesn’t diminish their feelings of closeness. But many couples very much want to sleep together — but can’t, because of a snoring issue. Sleeping apart can interfere with intimacy – both sexual and emotional. Couples may find themselves having sex less often when they’re regularly sleeping apart. Partners also may miss the physical closeness of sleeping together, and the emotional bond that it confers for many people.

Estimates vary, but recent studies and surveys indicate that anywhere from 25 per cent to 40 per cent of couples regularly sleep in separate bedrooms.

It doesn’t need to be this way. Tending to a snoring problem can pave the way for couples to sleep peacefully — and quietly — together, and help to improve the way couples relate to one another during their waking day.

By doing the simplest of things, using a stop snoring mouthpiece, the problem is solved immediately and couples may find it easier to enjoy their life as it should be – sleeping close and unencumbered.

Tending to a snoring issue can lead to better sleep for both partners, as well as a more loving and harmonious relationship that includes them sleeping together, and not apart. Sleeping well with the person we love is the goal, and by treating snoring effectively, it can happen.

Take that simple step – try it. You’ll be amazed – but not so much as your partner will be.

Happy Christmas and Sweet Dreams from all at SleepPro

 

 

 


Children's obesity risk Increased by breathing problems and poor sleep

A solid night’s sleep does more than recharge a growing brain — it may also help keep a growing body lean – and that applies to all of us. As winter has now arrived properly, and school holidays and Christmas approach fast, it becomes a very relevant subject for all of us.

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Breathing problems or a chronic lack of sleep early in life may double the risk that a child will be obese by age 15, according to research published in The Journal of Paediatrics. Childhood obesity has been linked before with the number of hours a kid sleeps each night. But other early problems with night-time breathing, like snoring, or the more serious obstructive sleep apnoea, also seem to be predictive of significant weight gain among children, according to the research.

For the study, researchers analysed the data from 1,900 children in England and followed the participants for about 15 years. Study results showed that those who got the least amount of sleep between the ages 5 and 6 had between a 60 per cent and 100 per cent increased risk of obesity by age 15.

In recent years, lack of sleep has become a well-recognized risk for childhood obesity. Sleep-disordered breathing, or SDB, which includes snoring and sleep apnoea, is also a risk factor for obesity but receives less attention. However, these two risk factors had not been tracked together over time to determine their potential for influencing weight gain.

Simply, researchers found that children with the most severe sleep-disorder breathing (SDB) had the highest obesity risk.

If impaired sleep in childhood is conclusively shown to cause future obesity, then it may be vital for parents and physicians to identify sleep problems early, so that corrective action can be taken and obesity prevented.

With our knowledge that childhood obesity is hovering at 17 per cent in the United States, we’re hopeful that efforts to address both of these risk factors could have a tremendous public health impact in the future.

A common cause of sleep-related breathing problems in children is due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids, which can be removed with surgery if a major problem occurs. Misalignment of jaws or teeth can also cause issues.

However, we know that too many teens are not getting enough sleep and the problem is getting worse, according to a study from Columbia University. Researchers found that only 6.2 per cent to 7.7 per cent of females and 8.0 per cent to 9.4 per cent of males reported getting the required nine or more hours of sleep that they really need each day.

We must always remember that it’s easier to prevent obesity than to treat it – whether it is in children, or in adults – and in the case of children there are many other additionally known benefits as well as good health, such as better behaviour and an increased focus on their schoolwork and studies.

Sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnoea are best prevented in children by ensuring good sleep hygiene patterns, and in the case of the adult a simple stop snoring mouthpiece can make all the difference. As Benjamin Franklin said, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’

John Redfern


Snoring – the warning sound that says your life is under threat

Anyone who suffers from a sleep disorder will probably have lower levels of aerobic fitness and be unable to take in the required amount of oxygen during any form of activity, whether it be cycling, walking up a hill, or simply climbing the stairs. Research has quantified this on many occasions and it is particularly common in those who snore heavily or suffer from the very dangerous disorder called obstructive sleep apnoea.

SleepPro Vicious Circle

Sleep apnoea causes the upper airway to become blocked by soft tissue in the back of the throat during sleep and this causes pauses in breathing and other symptoms, such as gasping and snoring. The sleep disorder has more than likely been caused by being overweight, and as a consequence less fit. In fact it goes further because being severely obese can causes decades of ill health and it can also reduce the average life expectancy by as much as eight years. It’s a vicious circle that exists.

Recent analysis showed that being obese at a young age was even more damaging to health and life expectancy. The research team, based at McGill University in Canada, said heart problems and type 2 diabetes were major sources of disability and death. Despite the health problems caused by obesity now being well known, many people often disregard the risks. This latest report, published in The Lancet, used a computer model to take those risks and calculate the impact of weight on life expectancy throughout life. Some of the key findings are covered in the following statements:

  • In comparison with 20 to 39-year-olds with a healthy weight, severely obese men of the same age lost 8.4 years of life and women lost 6.1.
  • Men also spent 18.8 more years living in poor health while women spent 19.1years in that state.
  • Moving up an age group to those in the forties and fifties, men lost 3.7 years and women 5.3 years to obesity.
  • Men and women in their sixties and seventies lost just one year of life to obesity, but still faced seven years in ill health.

Professor Steven Grover of McGill said: “Our computer modelling study shows that obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, and diabetes that will, on average, dramatically reduce an individual’s life expectancy. The pattern is clear. The more an individual weighs and the younger their age, the greater the effect on their health, as they have many years ahead of them during which the increased health risks associated with obesity can negatively impact their lives.”

This prompted the comment from the lifestyle manager of the charity, Heart Research UK, who said:

“How many more wake-up calls do we need?”

“This research study yet again supports the clear message that by becoming obese you not only take years off your life, but also life off your years in terms of experiencing more years in poor health rather than enjoying a happy, active and productive life.”

John Redfern


Snoring & Sleep Apnoea – the dangers and the differences?

Snoring and sleep apnoea are more common as a problem than most people think – and often the snorer often doesn’t even realise they’re suffering. Both are Sleep Related Breathing Disorders (SRBD) – and one in five adults has one in some form. Disorders range in severity from the simple but disruptive problem of snoring through to sleep apnoea, where the snorer actually stops breathing.

Complications of Sleep Apnea

Snoring is the most common form of SRBD. The airway becomes restricted, causing the soft tissue to vibrate, which is what makes the snoring noise. The snorer doesn’t know they’re doing it unless they’re told, or someone plays them a recording! It’s the loud, rattling, hoarse, annoying noise created by vibrations from the snorer’s soft palate and the back of their tongue, typically as they breathe in, that often keeps their partner awake and disturbs the rest of the family.

As we get older (and most likely heavier!) our throats get more floppy on the inside. Things like alcohol and sedative medications make this worse, while smoking inflames the soft tissue and narrows our throats even further. Snoring is more than just an annoyance – it can disturb the snorer’s own sleep as well as their partner’s, but more seriously it can lead to sleep apnoea.

Sleep apnoea is when people can’t breathe and sleep at the same time. The snorer has a disrupted breathing pattern during their sleep, caused by a collapse of the upper airways and for a period of time, the snorer stops breathing. It is estimated that 24% of adult men and 9% of adult women between the ages of 30 and 60 have some degree of sleep apnoea. You can think of sleep apnoea as the severe endpoint of snoring. The term used most commonly is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). In simple terms, that means you have a physical blockage or obstruction in the throat while sleeping, and this causes you to stop breathing.

With sleep apnoea, it’s not so much about breathing too hard; the throat is just too floppy to stay in shape and let the air through. This obstruction can lead to the snorer missing anything from a few breaths to many hundreds during a night, with each gap between breaths lasting around 10 to 20 seconds. The snorer’s partner may notice periods of silence between snores. Sometimes these might wake the snorer up, but often they’ll just start breathing normally again – and snoring – without even being aware that their sleep was disrupted.

Untreated sleep apnoea fragments the sufferer’s sleep and will usually make them sleepy during the day, and it is this that makes an OSA sufferer a real danger to themselves and those around them – particularly if driving a vehicle or operating machinery. Certain factors can mean you’re at greater risk from sleep apnoea:

  • Being overweight
  • Being a heavy snorer
  • A family history of snoring and sleep apnoea
  • Drinking alcohol in the evening
  • Smoking.

The effects of snoring and sleep apnoea Both destroy a good night’s sleep, which can seriously affect your health and even your life expectancy. Sleep is essential for your body and brain to repair and renew itself, and not getting enough sleep can make you drowsy the next day – which is dangerous. Chronic lack of sleep can also contribute to a range of medical conditions including obesity, depression and anxiety.

Snoring itself can also affect your health. It vibrates and hardens the arteries in your throat (this is called atherosclerosis), for instance, while the disruptions in breathing can lead to heart disease, persistent high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke and diabetes. Think of your heart as an engine – it needs air to work

What to do about it? It’s easily treated so be reassured: there’s a range of treatment pathways that can help people stop snoring, and reduce the risk of sleep apnoea. It’s a highly researched subject and a simple oral appliance or chin support strap worn at night, can stop your snoring immediately. Various types of oral appliance are also recommended for treating mild to moderate sleep apnoea before it becomes so bad that breathing equipment called CPAP becomes necessary to be used all night – something to try to avoid.

You should act quickly if you snore and the cost of a mouthpiece is a small outlay to preserve your healthy sleep and that of your family too.