STOP SNORING WEEK • Day 5

Ladies – Do you Snore – or are you actually very ill?

According to the very latest research, one woman for every two men are now diagnosed with sleep disorders. Basically their partner may snore – or it may even be themselves that is snoring. No longer ladies, can you tell your men that snoring is a man thing.

Men are also more likely to seek help for their snoring, outnumbering women eight to one, which could support the argument that men’s snoring is more disruptive than women’s snoring. But there has been a recent growth in women seeking help for their problem.

Mostly help is sought for social reasons – disruption – but if that problem is not just snoring, but obstructive sleep apnoea, then there are some very serious health implications too.

A study found that women who sleep with snorers might get decent sleep just 73 per cent of the time they are in bed; women who do not sleep with snorers get more than 90 per cent. So a woman who gets eight hours of beauty rest is awakened multiple times and might really get only five or six hours. More disturbing is the university’s finding that couples who are plagued by snoring are more likely to divorce, although we doubt that anyone has ever listed it on divorce papers as the reason for the split.

Men, or Women, who complain of persistent sleep disruption should encourage their partner to see their family doctors to rule out underlying problems such as anaemia, depression, fibromyalgia, thyroid disorder, etc. The doctor might also recommend a sleep study to rule out sleep apnoea, which is easily treated with positioning pillows, mouthpieces and CPAP devices. Sleep apnoea occurs when breathing stops because the airway becomes completely blocked.

‘Female First’ reports that over 40% of people say their partners snoring habit has a negative impact on how well they sleep and while a third of people have no idea why they snore, more than half have never done anything to stop themselves doing so.

This blind acceptance by snorers is contributing to some extreme reactions from long-suffering partners. Nearly a third of other halves resort to sleeping in another room while 2 in 5 engage in bedtime tussles, moving their partner from their back to their side to help ease the noise.

And this now applies to both men and women – not men alone – but women are not snoring more – there are just more of them seeking help. As obesity rates continue to rise and extra weight has an influence over snoring for lots of people, it is not unexpected that people are linking it with recent reports that more women are coming to clinics to stop their snoring. Drinking and smoking are additional contributory lifestyle factors.

If it is simply snoring, invest in an NHS recommended oral appliance, a dental mouthpiece, and you will quickly put it right.

If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea, you should consult your GP who may decide in consultation that you need a CPAP machine for night-time use. However, in the USA, where snoring problems and OSA have been accepted and treated for many years in advance of the UK, an alternative to a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine is becoming a more popular remedy for sleep apnoea.

Sleep Centre Directors in the US are recommending mouthpieces for the problem as they are likely not to deter patients from coming forward and they are also likely to be used much more. Rejection of CPAP has been a problem for many years and for many reasons including extreme dryness of the throat and even claustrophobia.

A relevant comment from a leading Sleep Centre Director, Dr Michael Coats, was made last Thursday on Sleep Apnoea Day:

“What we’re finding is the compliance rates for the oral appliances is higher,” he said. “The efficacy or the success rate of the oral appliance may be a little lower, although, if the patient is not wearing a CPAP at all, the next best thing can be an oral appliance to help them.”

By John Redfern


STOP SNORING WEEK • Day 4

Children’s Health • Snoring – What Mothers really need to know.

Snoring in children can range from a gentle little noise every now and then, to a loud snore every night. At a worrying time like this, with Measles topping the headlines as a health danger for children, parents need to better understand what snoring is and whether or not it is a problem for their child.

What Is Snoring?
Snoring is the sound of the upper-airway passage vibrating with effort to let air pass through. The louder and more chronic and constant the snore is, the more likely it is that the upper airway is not only floppy, but perhaps not staying ‘open’ enough for air to get through during sleep.

When the upper airway closes fully during sleep, this is called obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). If this occurs, the air, and therefore the oxygen, will stop flowing through the body for a short while and the child will appear to stop breathing. After a few seconds, the body will react to the lack of oxygen, and the child will take a deep breath, gasp and then settle back into a normal breathing and sleeping pattern until the next time the flow of oxygen stops.

Sometimes this upper-airway obstruction is only partial and is called Hypopnea Syndrome (HS). This is not as severe as OSA, but still needs attention in children because even small amounts of upper-airway collapsibility can indicate problems with overnight breathing.

However, not all snoring is due to OSA or HS. Primary snoring is snoring that does not involve upper-airway closure or blood-oxygen reduction. Many children have occasional primary snoring, particularly between the ages of two and four, or when they have a cold or allergy.

If the snoring is chronic, and is not related to a cold or an allergy, then it is worth investigating because research suggests primary snoring (even without oxygen changes or gasping for breath) still disrupts sleep.

What Impact Does Snoring Have On Children?
Snoring children will have constantly disrupted and poor-quality sleep. They are more likely to have nightmares and night terrors, and be restless. It is thought that snoring children are hot and sweaty due to difficulty regulating their body temperature and/or because they move around a lot.

Snoring, particularly when it is associated with OSA or HS, can also have an impact on daytime performance, the same as it does with adults, including reduced attention and memory performance, and problem-solving skills, which can affect learning and schoolwork. Snoring, poor sleep and OSA can also increase the likelihood of weight gain.

What Causes Snoring?
As noted above, snoring is caused mainly by a floppy upper airway, but other factors can play a role in this. They are:
1.    Jaw or nose shape
2.    Age: children between two and four are more likely to snore 3.    Allergies and colds
4.    Obesity
5.    Large tonsils and/or adenoids

How Prevalent Is Snoring In Children?
Snoring is common between the ages of two and four, and up to 30 per cent of children will snore during that age range and not snore again. But in general, 15 per cent of children will suffer from primary snoring more than three times per week, and about two per cent of those children will have OSAS or HS.

To begin to investigate your child’s snoring, speak to your GP who will refer you to the appropriate health professional if there is a problem.

Treatment Options Available
The treatments for snoring are aimed at trying to get the air to move freely through the upper airway during sleep and the cause of the snore will dictate the treatment. Most symptomatic snoring is usually treated in children over two years of age with an operation to take out enlarged tonsils or adenoids.

Sometimes there is a need for additional treatments to clear the nose with sprays and medications, or surgery. One possibility for resistant OSA is the continuous positive airways pressure (CPAP) machine. This is a ventolin mask worn over the nose and mouth during sleep that keeps the airways open by diverting air down through the airway during sleep.

This machine, while very effective, is often difficult for children to wear – and even adults reject it as a route. Very few children will need treatment such as the CPAP machine for sleep apnoea for the rest of their lives.

Do Children Outgrow Snoring?
Snoring generally resolves itself, either with age or intervention. In fact, there is still a lot of research needed to help us to get the best treatments for snoring that will ensure children will remain healthy throughout their lives.

Snoring does not necessarily indicate a problem, but if your child does snore, even when they do not have a cold, parents should be vigilant for any problems.
By John Redfern


STOP SNORING WEEK • Day 1

The bedroom battleground: Four in ten snorers argue with their partner over the noise while a quarter don’t even share a bed.

The latest figures show that around a quarter of women and four in ten men are frequent snorers, although nearly half of all people snore occasionally.

A new survey of 1,134 snorers and their partners, conducted to mark National Stop Snoring Week, found that 27 per cent of people are regularly left feeling grouchy, 21 per cent constantly feel tired, and 16 per cent are less productive as a result of snoring.

More than a half of respondents said they had never tried anything to tackle the problem.

 Some 41% of snorers engage in regular night-time tussles with partners

 More than half of people have never tried anything to tackle the problem

 Around one quarter of women and four in ten men are frequent snorers

Bedtime should be a blissful part of any happy couple’s day and the bedroom a safe haven where partners snuggle up before drifting into a peaceful night’s sleep.However, for many couples, it has become a battleground and the site of a nightly war with a single cause: SNORING.

A new study has found that 41 per cent of snorers engage in regular nightly disagreements with their partners. They are usually woken up by an annoying whistle, wheeze or snort and the annoyed party will attempt to shift their partner from on their back onto their side to help ease the noise. Others find even a shove or dig in the ribs does not work and so 28 per cent regularly resort to sleeping in another room to get some sleep.

Snoring can be caused by a number of factors.

Dr Chris Idzikowski, Director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, said: ‘Snoring can greatly impact sleep quality which may eventually lead to more serious health problems.

‘To ensure couples maintain the intimacy of their relationship and prevent snoring from getting in the way of a good night’s sleep, it is important that both the snorer and the partner work together to find a solution.

‘If you or your partner snore then there’s a variety of simple things you can do to manage the condition such as sleeping on your front or side, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding alcohol late at night.

‘While there is no cure for snoring, it can be controlled so it may also be worth discussing options such as mouth guards.’
By John Redfern


Heavy Snoring & Sleep Apnea

There is a difference between regular, habitual snoring and sleep apnea. Not all snorers will suffer from sleep apena but it can be a symptom, particularly for the louder snorers among us.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a sleeping disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or a low intake of oxygen during sleep. Each pause is called an ‘apnea’ which can last anywhere from 10 seconds to a couple of minutes in severe cases.

The gaps in breathing can often occur dozens of times within an hour of sleep. The most common form of apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which occurs because of a physical blockage in the throat or nasal passages. This makes snoring a common feature of sleep apnea, as the soft tissue in your throat causes a blockage that prevents oxygen passing freely.

Often the sufferer of the disorder is unaware of the disorder, so it’s often pointed out by a member of the family or sleeping partner.

So if you are heavy snorer it’s worth taking note, that this in turn could be a symptom of sleep apnea. The reason for concern is that sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous disorder causing high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems and even stroke.

If you have a reputation around your house as a noisy snorer it’s worth asking others to look out for the condition if you haven’t spotted it already, look out for pauses in breath intake followed by a gagging or choking sound, often the sleeper inadvertently wakes up without knowing what has transpired.

Treating the problem

The majority of moderate sleep apnea cases can be treated with a stop snoring device, by using one of these devices you can dramatically improve your sleep quality. However in severe cases we do recommend consulting a medical professional first, one of the most highly recommended methods is the continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) which clears the patient’s airway during sleep by pushing pressurized air through the throat.

Sleep Apnea is a serious condition, that may require medical advice sooner rather than later.


Join our Partners Against Snoring group!

Are one of the many long suffering snoring partners looking to vent their frustrations?

SleepPro have set up a group for your convenience, let your feelings known if your partner is keeping you up at night (for the wrong reasons).

Let your feelings known, name and shame your partner or even post a video demonstrating just how horrible snoring can be.

We think that partners deserve a place to vent their frustration so we have set up a Google plus community for anyone looking to let their feelings known or looking to gain some of the best advice on how to stop snoring and how to improve your sleeping pattern.

PAS

All you have to do is sign up at http://bit.ly/16czGon share your information, share your thoughts and troubles, in turn we’ll share some of our most helpful tips to help cut out the snoring.
By Richard Owen


Do You Snore? Download this App to find out!

Do you Snore? Talk in your Sleep?

Find out with Sleep Recorder – a FREE Windows Phone App

Do you snore – or if you talk in your sleep? Does your wife, husband or partner swear that they don’t snore? Sleep Recorder is an interesting Windows Phone app that records audio while you sleep and could help you answer those questions.

As well as recording your sleep cycles, Sleep Recorder also maps out where you’ve spent the night and uploads recordings to the cloud where they can be shared with others. Sleep Recorder is a unique app for your Windows Phone that can not only solve sleep related curiosities but also help identify sleep issues.

There is a free version of Sleep Recorder that is ad-supported in the Windows Phone Store. However if you want to buy a version that is advertisement free, Sleep Recorder Pro is also on the website at a special price of of $0.99 (£0.65).

By John Redfern


February Is The Worst Month For Sleep!

If you’re feeling that little bit more tired this morning, you’re definitely not alone. A British Sleep Survey found that it takes on average eight minutes longer to fall asleep in February.

It’s pretty simple really, darker days, longer nights and central heating in homes throughout the UK make sleeping that little bit more difficult.

The sun rises much later in the winter months than in July or August for example, so it’s normal to feel like your bed has a particularly strong hold on you this month. After all who would want to leave the comfort of their beds to face the snow, rain and wind we’ve faced recently.

Luckily we’ve put together some useful tips to help getting to sleep that little bit easier this gruelling month.

Good Sleeping Habits

These are some simple tips that’ll help you drift off.

  • A cool, dark place is crucial for your sleeping pattern, you should think of your bedroom as your relief from work, stress and noise.
  • Turn the temperature down; We don’t expect you to sleep in the garden but the central heating should definitely be switched off, waking up with a sweat is definitely not going to help your sleeping pattern, it’ll help you save money on your energy bills too.
  • Leave the iPad/iPhones in the living room; Technology can provide an unnecessary distraction, you don’t want to be checking Twitter in the early hours of the morning.
  • Wind down: An hour before bed, you should be in a relaxed frame of mind, Television, Video Games and late night work are definitely a no, reading and having a bath will certainly help!
  • Cut the Caffeine: The caffeine in a cup of coffee can stay in your system for as much as nine hours! So keep the espresso for the mornings.
  • Stop the Snoring: Snoring will not only keep your partner awake, it’ll disrupt your sleep cycle too, snoring decreases your overall quality of sleep, so look to prevent that horrible noise as soon as possible!

By Richard Owen


SNORERS ARE MORE AT RISK OF HEART ATTACK THAN SMOKERS OR THE OBESE

• STOP PRESS •

A major study has found that moderate snorers were at 4.8 times greater risk of death from heart attacks and far from just being an inconvenience, amusing, or a nuisance, snoring could be the important early warning of serious life-threatening health problems.

The research study from the USA, where they lead the world in research on sleep disorders, conclusively shows that snoring can cause a thickening of the arteries; a condition that leads on to brain haemorrhages, strokes and heart attacks. It very clearly showed that Snorers are more likely to have thickening or abnormalities in the carotid artery that supplies the brain with oxygenated blood.

Around a quarter of women and four in ten men are frequent snorers, although nearly half of us snore occasionally. Though it can interfere with our sleep – and that of our partners – it was not thought to cause any long-term health problems until recently.

American researchers claim the condition is as serious as having high blood pressure and urge snorers to seek medical advice.

After filling in detailed questionnaires about their snoring habits they were then given ultrasound scans to look at the thickness of their carotid artery and the evidence was conclusive. It was found that the inner layers of the artery walls were far thicker among the snorers than the other adults. It is thought that the thickening of the artery may be caused by the constant vibrations of the snoring which results in inflammation.

Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, who led the research said: ‘Our study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting isolated snoring may not be as benign as first suspected. Their recommendation is as follows:
‘Instead of kicking your snoring bed partner out of the room or spending sleepless nights elbowing them, seek out medical treatment for the snorer.

We are hoping to change the thinking so patients can get the early treatment they need, before more serious health issues arise. Snoring is more than a bedtime annoyance and it shouldn’t be ignored.’

By 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.