Does your partner snore loudly and keep you awake?

Comedians joke about snoring, but snoring can be deadly serious. Snoring can be much more than a nuisance – it can keep you awake, get on your nerves and drive your partner into denial about how loud they are doing it when you confront them the following morning. So if your partner doesn’t believe he snores, you will have to persuade him that he does.

Woman Disturbed By The Snores Of Husband In The Bedroom

Your partner’s snoring could be a serious health and quality-of-life issue for both of you. If your partner’s snoring undermines your sleep then your brain and body are doing less well. With poorer sleep your work life, friendships, memory, driving, and everything else you do in life may suffer. The snoring can even become a threat to your relationship.

In fact, it’s recorded as the third biggest reason for divorce and forces many couples to sleep apart even when still together. However you can play an important part not only in keeping the relationship together, but also in making significant improvements to the health of you both by avoiding major health problems now, and more so later in life. Therefore it’s actually very important to monitor your partner’s snoring and keep your ears peeled for particular sounds and changes.

Firstly, although snoring isn’t natural, it’s very common as we all know, and steps should be taken to resolve it. The cause is a simple one. Snoring mostly occurs when the soft tissue part of our upper airway vibrates. This is called the uvula or soft palate and it normally happens when someone inhales during sleep. Although it is most common in middle-aged men, many women, and younger people suffer from the problem too.

Snoring is most commonly caused by someone being overweight, smoking, drinking alcohol and nasal obstruction (from flu or allergies etc.) – all of which are very important health issues in themselves. The cause of the snoring should be addressed in it’s own right – a quiet night’s sleep is an added bonus. Although the snorer is asleep, the person isn’t actually sleeping well and this can result in fatigue and headaches.

After years of snoring, it is possible for it to develop into Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). Signs of OSA include very loud snoring with periods when the person stops breathing for up to 10 seconds before gasping and choking. This could happen many times throughout the night. At this time oxygen is unable to reach the brain, which alerts the person and they wake briefly, but they won’t remember doing so.

OSA should always be addressed urgently as it can develop into more serious conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart issues. It has now been prove to be a significant cause of diabetes type 2, and also to advance cognitive problems such as Alzheimer’s or dementia by anything from five to ten years.

Women suffer too and they are more likely to snore after the menopause as a drop in their oestrogen and progesterone levels leave them less protected against lifestyle changes. They are more likely than men to suffer from problems such as depression, insomnia and headaches due to snoring.

To overcome the problem of snoring and prevent it’s development then obviously certain changes in lifestyle will be helpful, but these are often slow and difficult targets to attain – and sometimes far from popular so people give up. However if you do take active steps to improve your lifestyle then you will feel the benefits in other consequential areas.

To prevent snoring and OSA, there are products available with virtually 100% success rates and these are both recommended and approved by the NHS without the need for a prescription or making visits to Hospitals with designated Sleep Centres.

A simple, comfortable oral appliance, similar to a sports gum shield can be worn during sleep to eliminate the problem. They are unobtrusive and comfortable to wear as they mould easily in seconds to fit the shape of your mouth. They’re also inexpensive and start at under £40 whether it’s just for snoring, or for the more dangerous version called sleep apnoea.

What price a healthy longer life?

John Redfern


Do you Snore? Part Two…further exposés of new ‘cures’ for snoring.

The second part of this feature examines further new and supposedly effective treatments of heavy snoring and sleep apnoea.

Sound Sensor and Microphone
This consists of a plastic pressure sensor fixed to the top lip before sleep. This is stuck on with an adhesive strip, like a plaster, and secured in place with a piece of elastic that runs around the back of the head. The sensor measures air pressure as the patient exhales — a drop in pressure is a sign the patient is about to stop breathing. The sensor is connected to an iPod-sized control box, which constantly analyses the information it receives.

When it detects the patient is about to suffer an apnoea, it sends a short burst of sound to the earpiece. The device can emit hundreds of different sounds, and runs through them until it finds one that has the desired effect — a rise in air pressure that means the patient is exhaling and that the apnoea has been stopped. The signal is designed not to wake the patient, but instead to slightly ‘startle’ the brain, rousing it enough for it to tighten the muscles surrounding the windpipe.

Verdict: Currently on test on 125 US patients with UK trials due for 2013 but no confirmation of results as yet. The Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough, says: ‘It is an interesting idea but many more trials are needed to see how well it works. Likely Cost: £400+.

Radiotherapy of the Soft Palate
One of the most common causes of snoring of course is having a soft palate and often surgery is recommended under a general anaesthetic to trim this back in a procedure called UPPP. I’ll miss out the mile long full title which reads like the name of that famous Welsh Railway station that no-one can pronounce but starts with Llan…..and ends in ‘gogogoch’. This operation is a last resort usually, and involves keeping the patient in hospital for a period of three or four days after the operation followed by a period of intense pain for anything up to two weeks.

As an alternative to this a new procedure has been trialled in Darlington and involves the use of RPS – Radiofrequency Palatal Stiffening. This has a price tag of about £1.500, which is a good £2,000 less than the previously described procedure of UPPP. But will it last? As yet there is no evidence one way or the other – very few procedures have taken place and they are recent, with no longer term assessments currently being available. That sort of proof will obviously be some years in coming.

Verdict: Quite expensive, moderately untested, and again, time will tell.

The £3 Anti-Snoring Jab is here
At that price we start to say to ourselves “Surely it can’t possibly be any good because it’s so cheap.”

A pretty normal reaction to anything that has a price point that seems to undermine its value – after all, a bottle of Cough Linctus will cost you more. The claim is that it takes two minutes and costs just £3, but its effects could be priceless for the partners of loud snorers. It involves injecting a chemical ‘stiffener’ called Sodium Tetradecyl directly into the roof of the mouth. This hardening agent, once activated, stops the movement of the soft tissue at the back of the mouth and prevents it from vibrating.
So far, there have been just a couple of hundred patients who have undergone this procedure, and all in Liverpool, where its chief (and only) proponent, Dr Hadi Al-Jassim, operates as a private ENT specialist. He has now concluded a series of talks around the country promoting this route as an alternative to the previously described painful, and expensive surgery.
When reviewed recently in the Daily mail his comments were “’Surgical treatment is very painful and takes weeks of recovery time so many patients decide not to do it because they can’t get the time off work or their health’s not strong enough for surgery.
‘After this jab, patients can probably go home straight away and eat about an hour later. It will probably help around 70 per cent of people who have suffered from heavy snoring and it has made life easier for many patients and their partners.
Even with those people it hasn’t cured, they reported sleeping better and waking up feeling fresher. The jab can be given three times a year but some people find one injection lasts them a year.

Verdict: As yet again, there are no longer-term studies or reports tracking the possible side effects or problems – it’s far too early for that. But it’s cheap perhaps suspiciously so to many – and the long term benefit is an unknown quantity – again it’s time will tell.

Overall Verdict: It’s probably wisest where your health is concerned to stay with the tried and tested – and a product tested for a long time too.


Do you snore?

Do you snore? If so….read about some of the very recent – and perhaps – more unusual ‘cures’ for snoring

Over the last few years, there has been a gradual recognition that snoring is a really huge and serious problem, and that consequently it costs the world’s health services a small fortune, due to the many long-term and life threatening effects. Worldwide research has confirmed all this very fully, and as a result there has been a proliferation of ‘so-called cures’ or therapies.

None of them however would appear so far to have gained any form of medical approval. Some of them are detailed below for your future ‘consideration,’ with a little published background detail on each. Keep your eyes open for Part Two of this feature with some equally amazing new developments to combat heavy snoring.

A Robotic Bear
As ever, the Japanese are not content with a low-tech solutions to the problem and have designed and built a robotic bear that flips over someone’s head, whilst sleeping, in order to open their airways through the changing of their position.
The bear works as a pillow and has a built-in microphone. If it detects loud snoring, a paw reaches up to turn the snorer’s head sideways. It was recently featured at the International Robot Show in Japan and is targeted specifically at snorers whose snoring inhibits their blood oxygen level, with a separate hand monitor sensing when blood oxygen levels drop.
Verdict: This seems to be an expensive and quite complex substitute for getting pushed hard by your partner. Cost: Unknown.

Nose Filters
It would appear that these nose filters, that are inserted nightly in each nostril, and then fastened with adhesive tape, did actually produce some interesting results. They were however considered mostly appropriate for those with severe breathing disorders, severe heart disease, or acute respiratory inflammation or infection. In the USA, where they were developed, they are prescription only, and each filter has on a one off use only, being available in packs of thirty.
The filter, which is attached to the bottom of each nostril, contains valves that allow in air, but make breathing out slightly more difficult. This increases pressure in the rest of the airway, helping to keep it open. This in turn prevents or reduces snoring caused by sleep apnoea.
Verdict: Given some interest by the Sleep Centres in the UK – but at £70 for a 30 day supply are unlikely to be prescribed when cheaper and perhaps much more effective alternatives are already available.

Magnetic Implants
Head and neck specialists in the US have developed this treatment. A narrowing of the respiratory passage, often associated with being overweight, is one of the main causes of snoring. It is also associated with sleep apnoea – which stops people from breathing during sleep – a serious and potentially dangerous condition.
Some tests have been carried out on animals in the USA. So far, the results show that the implants prevented airway collapse during sleep, and that the magnets were not rejected. Normal swallowing and eating were not affected by the magnets, which are contained in plastic moulds. Nor was there any sign of infection.
Verdict: “Repelling magnets could represent an implantable alternative to CPAP if human studies reveal similar findings,” say researchers. Cost: As yet unknown but an expensive operation would be required.

Improbable? Expensive? Unlikely? Only time will tell.

In the meantime the quiet simplicity of an NHS Approved mouthpiece or MAD, and its ready availability over the counter for a very small price of around only £30, clearly leads the way as the patient’s most successful and favourite route.

Look out for Part Two: This deals with more developments using a form of Radiotherapy Treatment, Annual Injections into the Palate, and an iPod style Sound system with a microphone attached to your lips.