They say ‘Snoring makes you look old, ugly and dopey.’
- Study of sleep apnoea patients shows that treatment makes them more noticeably attractive to others
- Voters asked to rank pictures of patients before and after treatment
- Snoring and poor sleep increased facial puffiness and redness
- Commonly-held signs of sleepiness such as dark circles did not increase
According to an article published this week in the Science section of The Telegraph, and also in The Daily Mail, “Snoring not only keeps your partner awake at night, it also makes you more haggard and ugly.”
Coming from such creditable sources as these – How can we doubt it?
We have all become very aware these last few years of the many dangers of heavy snoring and sleep apnoea – but this is something new. Snoring can be more than just an annoyance to anyone sharing your bed – it is a very major health risk.
Some snorers will stop breathing numerous times during the night, and because they do, the usual oxygen supply to their hearts and brains is temporarily cut off. This is the condition known as sleep apnoea, the cause of which is the relaxed tissues in the soft palate at the back of the throat blocking the airway, and this causes their breathing to be interrupted. Sleep apnoea is much more common among obese people but is easily treatable, firstly by losing weight, or alternatively by wearing a simple device like a gum shield that keeps the airways open during sleep.
The evidence came from a study made of middle-aged sleep apnoea patients, where they found that two-thirds of those who were treated for this condition were judged to be much more attractive in their “after treatment” pictures than in the “before treatment pictures.”
Detailed analysis of the panel was made by a sensitive “face mapping” technique usually used by surgeons, and then asking the opinion of a panel of independent ‘appearance raters.’ The changes were noted just a few months after they began treatment to help them breathe better during sleep and overcome chronic sleepiness.
Patients’ foreheads were found to be less puffy and their faces less red following treatment for the sleep apnoea and they were assessed to have fewer wrinkles. The researchers also perceived, but did not have a way to measure, a reduction in forehead wrinkles after treatment.
The results were jointly published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine by the University of Michigan Health and Technology Departments, in which the article stated that the raters found that patients in the post-treatment photos looked more alert, more youthful and more attractive. The raters also correctly identified the post-treatment photo two-thirds of the time.
This report underlines just one more benefit of getting treatment for sleep apnoea with its many dangers. Sleep apnoea affects millions of adults – most undiagnosed – and puts them at higher risk for heart-related problems, other serious illnesses and daytime accidents caused by drowsiness.
By John Redfern