According to recent data this is happening despite obesity having appeared to be reaching a plateau. Extensive research suggests that the average adult waist size increased by more than 1in (2.5cm) between 1999 and 2012 but figures for obesity as defined by body mass index (BMI) changed little over the same period.
Factors such as snoring causing a lack of sleep are getting the blame and in all, 25% of the UK population now suffers from some form of sleep disorder that results in excessive daytime sleepiness.
Very accurate figures from the USA show that the average male waist size is now 40 inches, and 38 inches for women – and the UK is rarely far behind.
Current UK figures estimate that there are now around 15 million snorers and one third of these are women. The female percentage of the total is also growing. In addition, research reveals that two thirds of partners normally only manage between three and five hours sleep a night usually because those sharing a bed with a ‘simple’ snorer can have to endure noise which can reach as much as 100 decibels.
Many women are now admitting to having a ‘simple’ snoring problem for the very first time.Are you a woman and do you snore? If so, we would like to hear from you or your partner to hear your different viewpoints.
So-called “simple” snoring is much more common than obstructive sleep apnoea, but it can be more difficult to treat. There are plenty of adverts in newspapers and on websites for devices ‘guaranteed’ to stop you snoring! But do they work? The answer is probably not. The only stop snoring device approved by medical experts is the mouthpiece, or oral appliance, sometimes called an MAD – or a mandibular adjustment or advancement device to give it the correct full title.
The mandibular device eases the lower jaw forward onto the upper jaw, so that there’s more space at the back of the throat and breathing is easier. Simple things like losing weight, not drinking alcohol or taking sedatives 4 hours before going to sleep can help. There is little evidence to show that surgery – which was in vogue about 10 years ago – actually works.
Snoring occurs when the soft palate tissue at the back of the throat relaxes too much, obstructing the entrance to the throat. As air tries to pass through, the soft palate vibrates and produces the snoring sound.
The problem may get worse with age but one of the main causes is size and body shape. People with short wide necks are most prone to snoring because the muscles around their windpipe can’t support the fat around it when the person is asleep. As a general rule, anyone with a collar size of 16.5 inches or more is likely to snore.
Other snorers may have poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat, with muscles that are too relaxed and so contribute to snoring. It may be due to large throat tissue. Children with large tonsils often snore. It could also be an obstructed nasal passageway. People with blocked noses often snore.
But it can be stopped – a simple oral appliance will do that immediately for most people, bringing you a wide range of health benefits, better rest, and if this is combined with a simple weight loss programme then great results can be achieved by anyone.
A much healthier life follows when you start to use a mouthpiece.
By John Redfern