The problems faced by couples due to snoring

Snoring is a huge problem that results in one in three couples in the UK now opting to sleep apart to get a better night’s sleep. Do you find it hard to get a good night’s sleep because there is someone snoring alongside you? Millions of couples worldwide are familiar with this situation and suffer from disturbed sleep. In some cases, both partners in the relationship are snorers.

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While we sleep our bodies are hard at work recharging and optimising our body’s functions. A recent study found that those who slept less than seven hours a night on average were three times more likely to get sick and suffer major health issues than those who averaged at least eight hours.

A recent study has shown that 41.5% of the British adult population snores at some time or other in their week. So most likely, even if you don’t snore, your partner does, and sometimes both of you have the problem. As such, more than 30 million people have a regular and ongoing problem with snoring and usually, men snore much louder than women.

The National Sleep Foundation estimates that 90 million Americans snore, 37 million on a regular basis. While all ages and genders snore, twice as many men than women snore nearly every night and most of them go through life undiagnosed. If you have trouble sleeping at night, it could be more than just a noisy disturbing inconvenience. In fact, you could be suffering from a serious medical condition called sleep apnea.

The reasons why we snore are pretty straightforward. When you fall asleep the muscles in your neck and throat relax. They then go floppy and the airways narrow, meaning there is less space for the air to go through. The soft tissue in this smaller space vibrates and rattles as the air passes through.

Snoring is also a symptom of sleep apnea which results in dangerous oxygen deprivation, as the sleeper’s airway becomes blocked, and deprives the brain of oxygen, As result it is unable to reach the cells and tissues, and dangerous conditions occur due to low oxygen over a long period.

If this is an issue for you, then there is a kinder, and more effective solution than kicking the person next to you and waking them up, or moving out. After all, that’s pretty counterproductive, and one of the main reasons why snoring is listed as the third most important factor that contributes to divorce. The medically recommended solution also makes quitting the marital bedroom to get some sleep something that is no longer necessary.

NHS Choices clearly gives the following information on their website:

‘If your snoring is mainly due to the base of your tongue vibrating, a mandibular advancement device (MAD) may be recommended.

It’s designed to push your jaw and tongue forward. This increases the space at the back of your throat and reduces the narrowing of your airway that’s causing your tongue to vibrate, resulting in snoring.

You can buy a MAD for around £30-50, which is suitable for most cases of simple snoring (snoring that doesn’t cause any breathing difficulties).

However, if your snoring is associated with breathing difficulties, such as obstructive sleep apnoea, it’s recommended that you have a MAD made specifically for you by a specialist using impressions of your teeth and jaw.

The cost of a custom-made MAD will depend on the complexity of the device and materials used, and can range from several hundred pounds to several thousand pounds. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to obtain a custom-made MAD free of charge on the NHS.

An MAD lasts about 18 months before it needs to be replaced.’

Source: NHS Choices

Following an extensive testing programme, the NHS published their findings in The Lancet and recommended SleepPro oral appliances as their number one selection to prevent snoring, along with mild to moderate sleep apnoea. Many patients acquire SleepPro products online after consulting their Hospital or Sleep Centre where special literature is made available that describes the product range available and they can arrange special prices.

These are all problems that couples who snore may have to cope with later in life when they should be relaxing, enjoying life, and ticking off their bucket list but it’s never too late to take action.

Peace will return to the bedroom and your relationship will be the winner.

John Redfern


The latest research shows many women suffer in silence

Nearly HALF of women are constantly exhausted – and it could be due to a serious medical condition, experts warn in an article based on new UK Government research that was published this week.

Women have sleeping problems but suffer in silence

The YouGov survey of 4,100 British adults found that 46 per cent of women have trouble sleeping, compared with 36 per cent of men.

  • The study found that nearly half of women are sleep deprived but suffer in silence – only one in four tell their doctor.
  • Lack of sleep could be caused by obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) – a sleep disorder that causes snoring and highly dangerous pauses in breathing – but often goes undiagnosed.
  • Poor sleep also increases risk of type 2 diabetes for middle-aged women and other new research confirms this.
  • Women are also more likely to wake during the night, with 36 per cent of women reporting this problem compared with 23 per cent of men.
  • Six in ten women said they become irritable during the day because of lack of sleep, while less than half of men do.

Many women do not seek medical advice because they believe it is merely a side effect of growing older. Experts however warn that not getting enough sleep can be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition, although pregnancy or the menopause can often be a factor too.

Sleep is known to be a particular problem for women as they approach the menopause.  Changes in hormone levels can lead to hot flushes, night sweats and mood changes – each of making sleeping harder. Pregnancy and the menopause increase a woman’s risk of suffering from OSA.

Professor John Stradling, a sleep expert at Oxford University, said: ‘Often women think that feeling exhausted is just part of modern life when in fact it could be something more serious. Remaining untreated leaves women at risk of reduced quality of life and serious health conditions.’

He added: ‘Many women are not aware that they may have sleep apnoea, meaning that they are missing out on the medical advice or treatment that they need. The sooner their sleep issues are addressed by a sleep expert, the better.’

Bill Johnston, chairman of the Sleep Apnoea Trust Association, which commissioned the survey, said it was easy to blame poor sleep on a change in the seasons, especially in winter. ‘For many it is, but for others, sleep issues could be a sign of sleep apnoea,’ he said.

‘The overall lack of awareness around sleep apnoea symptoms and its impact on a person’s health may mean that many are suffering in silence so it is important that we work with healthcare professionals to uncover this missing group and help minimise the impact of sleep problems on their lives.

An estimated 1.9 million women in Britain are thought to be going through the menopause at any one time. Some 80 per cent of these women are thought to experience symptoms, which typically last for about four years.  For about one in ten, however, symptoms last much longer, in some cases continuing for 12 years.

If left untreated it could lead to more serious health problems such as stroke or heart attack. Some 1.5 million adults in Britain are thought to suffer with sleep apnoea, but do nothing although treatment is simple and inexpensive. As well as snoring and insomnia, symptoms include restless legs, fatigue, depression, headaches and muscle pain.

No woman likes to think that she snores, because of the stigma that is attached to it, but at the end of the day the statistics show that women who snore account for 40% of all snorers.

A range of high quality approved mouthpieces that help to prevent serious health problems caused by heavy snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea is now available. These are 98% effective in tests, NHS Approved, comfortable, unobtrusive, and bring a great night’s sleep.

SleepPro Woman has been specially produced for this group and is the ideal starter mouthpiece. If symptoms continue or are accompanied by gasping for breath in the night they should consider a custom-fitted appliance called SleepPro Custom – the NHS No. 1 recommendation for both snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea.

Acting now and investing in a mouthpiece that will stop your snoring could improve your day beyond recognition, and maybe even save your life.

John Redfern


Heavy Texting and Social Media are linked to Sleep Problems and poor performance for University students

I recently highlighted the high incidence of sleep disorders in adults, particularly women, and also wrote about the worrying problems that lack of sleep and snoring can cause in children – but what about young adults – particularly students going away from home for the first time?

Sleep deprivation has always been regarded as a major problem for those leaving home to go to College and University – as part of their transition to campus life. Now, a new study in the USA has identified another problem when it comes to students and sleep problems. In a word, it’s Texting.

Sleep Problems and poor performance

In a recent article it was reported that texting was a direct predictor of sleep problems among first-year students in a study that examined links between inter-personal stress, text messaging behaviour, and three indicators of college students’ health: burnout, sleep problems and emotional well-being.

Although the results of this study showed that the impact of texting on a student’s psychological well-being very much depended on the level of interpersonal stress they were already facing, more texting was associated with poorer sleep regardless of their previous level of stress.

The students in the study were all in their first year away from home and answered questions that measured academic and social burnout, emotional well-being, and sleep problems. They were also asked to estimate how many text messages they sent and received on an average day.

The study’s findings on sleep were especially significant given the well-documented compromises in sleep that students experience throughout their time in higher education, but especially in the first year. Several recent studies have shown that 70 per cent of college students receive less than the eight recommended hours of sleep. A recent survey concluded that “Only 40 per cent of students feel rested on two days of the week”.

To assess the students’ sleep quality, a ‘Sleep Quality Index’ was used to fit the college sample. It measured multiple aspects of sleep quality such as sleep duration, the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, the amount of time actually spent sleeping while in bed, night-time disturbances, and any daytime sleepiness.

The key finding was that the higher the number of daily texts – the higher the index of the student’s sleep problems. It is worth noting that this finding reinforces previous evidence pointing to a direct association between the use of mobile phones and poor sleep in adolescents and emerging adults.

Among the possible causes for this connection are two tendencies: students’ feeling pressured to respond immediately to texts, no matter what time of day or night, and students’ sleeping with the phone nearby, thus being awakened by the alerts from incoming texts. Initial conclusions are that heavy text messaging could be problematic during times of stress. Although speculative, it could be argued that texting is a uniquely unsuitable mode of communication for coping with interpersonal stress in close relationships.”

For instance, it is suggested that the abbreviated language that is common in texting — so-called “textese” — lacks the ability to provide the kind of nuance that is important in discussing sensitive issues. In addition, texting fails to offer critical non-verbal indications and hints that would be part of a face-to-face conversation. The Report stated that:

“Text messaging may carry a high risk of producing misunderstandings and unproductive interactions during periods of stress. When interpersonal stress involves conflict, the conditions required for productive communication may be particularly difficult to achieve through texting.”

To put it simply, as well as distracting students from restful sleep, leaving them tired the next day, texts can very easily be misunderstood, and cause more problems than they solve in a conversation.

Texting, Social Networking and other Media use has also been linked to poor academic performance in a US Report which says the widespread use of media among college students — from texting, to chatting on cell phones, to posting status updates on Facebook — may be taking a very serious academic toll.

According to this new study, new women students spent nearly half their day — 12 hours — engaged in some form of media use, particularly texting, music, the Internet and social networking. Researchers found media use, in general, was associated with lower grades an other academic problems. However, there were two exceptions: newspaper reading and listening to music were actually linked to a positive academic performance.

These findings were reported online in the journal Emerging Adulthood, and they offer some new insight into media use in early adulthood, at a time when many young people are living independently for the first time and have significant freedom from parental monitoring.

By John Redfern


Sleep Deprivation Can Alter Genes

Research in the PNAS Journal indicates that a lack of sleep can have a profound effect on the internal workings of the human body. Studies show that the activity of hundreds of genes were altered when sleep was reduced to less than 6 hours every day in a week.

This news follows the recent developments in the media linking a lack of sleep and regular snoring with cardiovascular issues such a high blood pressure and stroke.

This research however indicated that a lack of sleep can potentially alter genes, particularly after prolonged periods of time.

Researchers at the University of Surrey examined the blood of 26 subjects who had sufficient sleep comparing the results with samples from subjects who had fewer than 6 hours a night (below the recommended amount)

Genes have instructions for building protein, after a lack of sleep the genes that were effected produced a lesser amount which essentially changes the chemistry within the body.

Studies showed that the immune system in particular was affected by the stress caused by lack of sleep, indicating that failing to get the required amount of sleep each night can leave you susceptible to common viruses and the flu.

Professor Colin Smith from the University of Surrey explained:

“Clearly sleep is critical to rebuilding the body and maintaining a functional state, all kinds of damage appear to occur hinting at what may lead to ill health”

Sleep is necessary to replenish and replace new cells. Failing to get the required sleep can have a degenerative effect on the body, leaving it more prone to disease and common viruses.

The link with Snoring

Snoring has been found to be one of the major causes of sleep deprivation particularly for the partners of regular habitual snorers, by cutting out snoring it’s possible to eliminate the negative effect sleep deprivation has on the body.

By Richard Owen