How do you tell your better half that he or she has a problem with snoring without hurting their feelings? A snoring partner is a very delicate subject – but it’s vital that the conversation takes place. Snoring is not a joke.
It is a sensitive conversation, but you shouldn’t avoid bringing it up. After all, your partner’s snoring problem heavily affects your life too:
It disrupts your sleep pattern, which is devastating to your lifestyle.
It makes you tired, impairing your lifestyle or productivity at work.
You might experience irritability, loss of temper and frustration.
During the day your body might demand the rest that it was really supposed to get during the night so that, while you should be going about your daily responsibilities, you can only think of taking a nap.
Perhaps you doze off at work or, more dangerously, feel like falling asleep while driving? Leading world motoring organisations state that sleepy drivers cause a very high percentage of the most serious road accidents – a figure they put at almost a quarter. Many serious injuries and deaths result from this and they name snoring and sleep apnoea as the direct cause of it.
All of the above reasons are extremely important for you to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. However, keep in mind that next to your suffering, snoring can be dangerous for the snorer too, as the condition has recently been linked to diabetes, heart disease, dementia and even cancer.
For these reasons, if not for others, you should have the important “Snoring conversation” with your partner as soon as possible. While at it, consider the situation your snorer is in, why he or she is not seeking help and how they feel about their health and lifestyle.
Leading experts say that if your snorer has been ignoring the problem for a long time, confronting the issue might stir up an array of emotions that can progress in stages or may even be experienced at the same time:
Denial Denial is the most common first reaction after hearing about the problem. Snoring comes with a certain kind of stigma and most snorers can’t believe that they snore, especially because they are not the ones to hear it at night. If your partner is in denial, the best thing to do is to record their snoring. You can do it in various ways but a cellphone is easiest, and numerous free online apps exist. Confronted with tangible evidence, most snorers accept that they have a problem and try to find a solution.
Embarrassment As mentioned earlier, snoring comes with a social stigma and because of this it might be humiliating for people to think of themselves as snorers. Be patient and understanding to your partner, assure him or her that you realise they can’t help it. Confirm your strong feelings towards them. It will be good for them to know that their snoring does not affect the relationship that you share. Do your best to be supportive, sensitive and respect your partner’s feelings, and since snoring affects the lives of both of you, work closely together to find the solution.
Helplessness Snoring is no longer a difficult condition to cure and people often do not realise that a visit to a doctor is not needed, as a simple mouthpiece, worn during sleep, can solve the problem completely – and immediately. All the major health authorities throughout the world now recommend the use of approved oral appliances to prevent snoring and even treat sleep apnoea.
It is estimated that snoring, or sleep disordered breathing affects as many as 40% of adults, and they and their partners suffer from regularly disturbed sleep and loss of valuable rest. The problem is not confined to men alone, although many more men than women snore. However, the role of the woman is important, as not only is she likely to take steps towards preventing her own snoring faster than a man, she is the one most likely to encourage her partner to take the appropriate action to help them protect their health.
A wide choice of oral appliances now exists; from simple, inexpensive starter appliances that come straight out of the box, that are ideal for lighter snorers, to medically approved custom-made mouthpieces that prevent the dangers of sleep apnoea, and may even replace the use of CPAP or other mask-assisted breathing systems for mild to moderate sufferers.
It’s important to take those first steps and have that all-important “Snoring’ Conversation” as it will safeguard your health, and of your partner, improve or even save your relationship, and it may even save their life. Remember that the obvious and easy choice of sleeping in separate rooms is an option – but it is certainly not a solution.
One in three people born in the UK this year will suffer from some form of dementia in their lifetime, the Alzheimer’s Research UK charity has warned.
The figures, which have been released by the charity this week on World Alzheimer’s Day, suggest the condition will affect 27% of boys born in 2015 and a much higher figure for women with it affecting as many 37% of girls.
With no treatment to stop or slow dementia, the charity has warned of a “looming national health crisis” as the population ages, and is renewing its call for more urgent action to tackle the illness. The figures are based on current life expectancies and the risk of people developing dementia as they age.
More than 800,000 people in the country are already affected by the disease, which is caused by the destruction of brain cells – usually attributed to lack of oxygen in recent research – often due to heavy snoring and the even more dangerous sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnoea – OSA.
Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia and rising life expectancies could increase the number of people living with the condition. Heart disease, diabetes, smoking and a lack of exercise are also linked to the condition and again often linked by research to snoring – the alarm bell for the development for these dangerous and life-threatening conditions.
The charity commissioned the Office of Health Economics to make the projections.
It predicted that:
32% of people born in the UK in 2015 will get dementia in their lifetime
27% of men would get the condition
37% of women would be affected
Dr Matthew Norton, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “These figures underline a stark reality – as people are living longer, more and more people will develop dementia in the future if action is not taken now to tackle the condition.
“It’s wonderful news that each generation is living longer than the last, but it’s important to ensure that people can enjoy these extra years in good health.
“Dementia is our greatest medical challenge and if we are to beat it, we must invest in research to find new treatments and preventions.”
Treating snoring has been proved recently to delay the onset of both Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia by between five and ten years, and is dependent on how early preventative steps are taken. This would reduce the total number of people suffering at any one time by approximately one-third and make a huge saving on NHS costs, as well as easing the difficult burden for family dependents that often do the home caring.
Thanks to research conducted at UCLA over the past 12 years, experts have known that the gasping during the night that characterizes obstructive sleep apnoea can damage the brain in ways that lead to high blood pressure, depression, memory loss and anxiety. It also can cause extreme daytime sleepiness, thanks to the constant night-time interruptions, and can lead to stroke, diabetes, and loss of testosterone and endocrine-related problems.
The damage to the brain stems in part from the reduction of oxygen to the body, as a result of the repeated breathing interruptions.
This can be stopped in most cases by the use of a simple oral appliance or mouthpiece – some of which are now approved and recommended by the NHS – and even given to patients. They are effective, work fast, are easy and comfortable to wear, and cost little – but save a lot.
There are new worrying figures that expose England’s north-south health divide and they also show that it is getting worse. So who in England lives longest and where are they? More importantly perhaps – Why?
The life expectancy for people living in England has risen by 5.4 years since 1990, with the average person now expected to live until more than 80 years of age. But some areas do far better than others.
A study carried out by Public Health England (PHE) found life expectancy rose from 75.9 years to 81.3 years between 1990 and 2013. The gains were greater for men than women, with men expected to live an extra 6.4 years compared to 25 years ago but women still generally live longer, with the figures showing an average life expectancy for women of 83.2 years compared to 79.5 years for men.
There are still vast inequalities between rich and poor areas. While the wealthiest 20 %of men in the East of England can expect to live to 83.1 years, and women 86.4, the most deprived 20 %of men in the North West have an average life expectancy of just 74.9, with women at 79.5 years.
The increase has been ascribed to a slowdown in the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease over the last two decades, but while life expectancy has grown for the general population, large inequalities still remain for people living in more deprived areas.
The study found that despite having the same health and social care system as the rest of the country, regions such as the North East and North West are ranked among the worst performing regions for life expectancy.
The study, which was published in The Lancet, shows that obesity, poor diet and smoking are the biggest risks for premature death among people in England. If you snore – it could be a sign of things to come unless you change things and do something about it quickly.
Public Health England spokesman, Professor John Newton described the wide-ranging causes of inequality as “deep-rooted and persistent and lie largely outside the he healthcare system”. “Preventatives services which already exist do help,” he added.
The new figures, published in The Lancet, show that if the healthiest region of England, the south-east, were a country it would top a league of 22 industrialised nations for its health outcomes. But if the North West were a country, it would be in the bottom five.
Although the study only looked at England, older data for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also places them among the worst performing countries. England has achieved significant gains in life expectancy, which has increased by 5.4 years between 1990 and 2013 – mostly driven by declines in deaths from heart disease and some cancers. The gains made by the country as a whole are greater than for most other wealthy countries.
But while we are living longer, there has been barely any decline in rates of illness and disability. The highest rates of the biggest killers – including heart disease and lung cancer – are found in the most deprived areas – driven by higher rates of common risk factors such as smoking and unhealthy drinking.
Across the board, the researchers estimate, 40 per cent of ill health in England is caused by preventable risk factors. Unhealthy diets and obesity are the biggest causes of illness – accounting for about a fifth. Smoking causes 10.8 per cent of disease, high blood pressure 7.8 per cent and alcohol and drug use 5.8 per cent.
If you snore you need to take the first step and prevent these illnesses from developing – or suffer the inevitable consequences.
If you’ve ever been woken by your partner’s deafening snoring tones or struggled to slink into slumber because of the noise coming from your bedside partner, then you’re not alone!
Snoring is one of the most common partner disturbances when it comes to sleep and what starts off as a niggle can soon become very annoying especially when you’re trying your best to get off to the land of nod.
I mentioned in last week’s article the latest newspaper report about the rise of the snoring room for the wealthy property buyer – basically a separate bedroom to banish your snoring partner to – but it’s not new. People have been sleeping apart due to someone snoring for a very long time.
However, disrupted sleep can leave many couples short tempered with each other leading to rows and squabbles, and even to divorce in extreme cases. So if snoring is a real issue then a snoring room, or what us ordinary folk call a separate bedroom, can be no bad thing!
Over recent years there’s been lots of research into how many couples now sleep apart and how beneficial – or not beneficial – it is for your sleep. And there is a large number of us who do sleep in separate bedrooms – for many reasons whether that’s snoring, health or just personal space.
Women suffer more than men do. A large research study found that 31% of women, and 19% of men, are disturbed by snoring, with many saying that they think their sleep would improve quite significantly if their partner didn’t snore. Yet in the same research, 78% did report they shared a bed.
It’s well known that severe cases of snoring, and particularly sleep apnoea, have made a very detrimental contribution to serious health problems such as diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and even cancer.
Snoring and disturbed sleep can affect you much more than just making you tired and irritable, and falling asleep or taking daytime naps. Professor Francesco Cappuccio and his team at The University of Warwick have explored what daily napping says about our health. The team studied the daytime napping habits of more than 16,000 men and women in the UK and found daily napping, of both under and more than one hour — to be a warning sign of underlying health risk — particularly respiratory problems.
The team believes that the risks associated with those prolonged or extra hours asleep may extend beyond heart conditions to represent warning signs of depression, infection, inflammatory conditions and, in some, the early stages of cancer.
“It doesn’t mean that longer sleep causes these diseases,” says Cappuccio. Instead, the fatigue from sleep disturbed by snoring that is keeping people in bed excessively is a symptom of something going wrong. “It’s a consequence of the disease, not the cause,” he says.
Cutting out snoring and sleeping better is the key to good health for all of us.
However it appears that snoring and disturbed sleep can affect you much more than just making you tired and irritable – it affects simple everyday health. We now have new medical findings that it affects our health in significant, but lesser ways – illnesses that are very common and that we accept as part of everyday life.
Scientists now say they have found proof that failing to get enough sleep can greatly increase your risk of catching a cold. The US researchers found that people who sleep 6 hours a night or less are at least 4 times more likely to catch a cold when exposed to the virus, compared to those who sleep for more than 7 hours.
Writing in the journal, Sleep, the team members say their findings prove just how vital it is to have undisturbed regular sleep to stay healthy.
It’s not rocket science so don’t ignore this sound advice – Stop Snoring now.
A new nationwide poll conducted with home-owning couples last month has revealed some major regional differences in how partners deal with the issue of snoring, and how they resolve it as a problem. Everyone sleeps in a slightly different way, and this can be due to a very wide range of factors including their different habits when they turn in for the night. Some of the more interesting regional results are as follows.
The highest percentage of snoring that causes family rifts is in Northern Ireland and is at over 60%, closely followed by the North West and North East of England, with Wales following at 44%, whilst other areas rank lower.
The average amount of sleep an adult gets in the UK is 7 hours and 10 minutes, but the people who live in the hustle and bustle of London get the least sleep for one reason or another, which may not come as a huge surprise. They only get 6 hours 25 minutes sleep per night and that is exactly an hour less than someone who lives in the North East. It may not seem much but across a week it’s a difference of a complete night’s sleep.
People from Northern Ireland get 7 hours 8 minutes sleep on average but say that are very unhappy about it, Nearly two-thirds would like more. One of the biggest disruptions to their night is snoring, and well over 60% confessed to having major arguments about this – the highest figure of any region in the United Kingdom.
Although people in the North East sleep longer than those in any other region, only 41% are happy about that amount and feel that they don’t get enough sleep. They are obviously hardy as even though it’s colder than many parts of the country they are the ones most likely to sleep naked.
In contrast, those in Northern Ireland are most likely to sleep wearing pyjamas, whereas Londoners tend to prefer some form of underwear as their night-time attire of choice.
These two areas differ greatly in other ways too. Working and living in a big city such as London can often leave you a bit grubby by the time that bedtime rolls around, and this may be why Londoners are the ‘cleanest sleepers’ in the UK, with 65% washing, bathing or showering every evening before they hit the sack. This is quite different to Northern Ireland, as only 23% admit to never washing before going to bed, presumably because they favour the morning bath or shower.
Maybe it’s something in the water but when it comes to night time intimacy, Yorkshire and Humberside leads the way. Over 15% confessed to being intimate with their partner before they go to sleep with other areas having lower figures. The other end of the scale reveals figures of less than 7% in Scotland and an even lower 5% in Northern Ireland.
Other activities vary greatly too. Those in the South East prefer to read before turning the light out with the highest figure of over 42% for this. Reading and watching television are by far the most popular pre-sleep activities and both have a 37% average, but in the East Midlands less than 24% said that they watch TV before turning in.
The data recorded even measured how often people hit the snooze button on their alarm with Londoners doing it most at a figure that is 47% higher than anywhere else. East Anglians proved to be the sprightliest in the morning and they hit the snooze button far less than anyone else.
The biggest disturbances to sleep came from snoring – often a serious problem. Sleeping in the same bed as your partner however may be going out of fashion with new research suggesting that now one in six British couples choose to sleep in separate bedrooms. The emergence of ‘his and her’ rooms appears to be growing because of the increase in snoring and many people are quite happy sleeping in their own separate room. Dubbed the ‘second master suite’ or the ‘snoring room’, the extra bedroom has now started to become a common feature in many houses.
Stephen Lindsay, head of Savills estate agency in London, told the Sunday Times that the idea of separate rooms appealed greatly to many clients, particularly those from abroad. ‘They are amused by the English humour of the snoring room, but also attracted to the flexibility it allows’. He added: ‘Often called a second master or guest suite, developers are increasingly adding snoring rooms to new properties to meet this buyer appetite.’
Of course, it would be much cheaper for them to stop snoring by using a simple oral appliance, and definitely much friendlier and more sociable.
Lots of people snore. Maybe you do. Perhaps your spouse lies hopelessly awake at night praying some miracle will just shut you up for a second. Sound familiar? It does to me too, and we hear it often, but you may not realise that snoring often precedes several serious health conditions.
Snoring might not strike you as grounds for a lifetime pay increase at retirement but heavy snoring could in some cases boost income by up to 24%. Heavy snoring can be a sign someone suffers from a condition called sleep apnoea or OSA and sufferers don’t just snore; they also stop breathing for short periods during sleep, which can have serious health implications.
According to Hargreaves Lansdowne, one of the UK’s leading pension advisers, some enhanced annuity providers are willing to pay a higher annuity income to someone with sleep apnoea. In their research, a man aged 65 could boost his pension annuity by up to £586 a year, by declaring his sleep apnoea together with just his height, weight and other personal details. This means more income for life – in other words a lifetime pay rise.
A better result however is to stop snoring through the use of a simple and inexpensive oral appliance – and as a consequence to live much longer. They are NHS Approved and recommended and don’t need a prescription or even for you to make a trip to your GP – they are available online.
The most important thing to understand is that snoring is a symptom. It is not normal, and it’s got very specific causes. There are many causes, including a weak jaw, congestion, excessive fat in the throat, weakness of the neck muscles and above all being overweight which is hard to avoid as we age.
Among the most common and most dangerous causes of snoring is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). It is seen most frequently in middle-aged men with heavy-set necks and shoulders, although anyone can have it and It occurs when the tongue and soft palate relax enough to make contact with the back of the throat, restricting airflow or stopping it completely.
And that’s the worrying part because sometimes OSA causes breathing to stop completely, which, if untreated, can cause major health problems.
When OSA causes breathing to stop, it’s called an ‘apneic event’ and this exerts stress on the heart, and the cumulative effect of lots of these events increases the risk of heart conditions. For instance, OSA patients are 30% more likely to have a heart attack and have greater risk of congestive heart failure due to pulmonary pressure build-up in the right side of the heart.
OSA is one cause of high blood pressure and when breathing stops during sleep, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure spike, which keeps blood pressure elevated throughout the night. This causes a very dangerous form of hypertension. Most people who suffer from hypertension get a bit of relief at night because their blood pressure falls whereas chronic snorers often experience high blood pressure for the entire 24 hours of the day.
In men, OSA can increase the risk of stroke by almost 300%. But more importantly, this isn’t just seen in all the severe cases as you can be at greater risk even if you have moderate sleep apnea.
The Real Danger
The real danger of snoring is that obstructive Sleep Apnea often goes completely undiagnosed, so many people don’t know they’re at risk. This is because the symptoms of OSA occur during sleep, and lots of people, especially those who don’t share a bed with anyone else, don’t even know they snore. Further, people tend to view snoring as something amusing. So, if you’re not sure if you snore, here are a few other symptoms to watch out for:
Excessive fatigue during the day
Headaches in the morning
Being confused in the morning
Sore or dry throat
All in all, snoring seems harmless but it interfere with your overall health. The good news is that snoring can easily be stopped, and OSA can be treated successfully, easily, and inexpensively, by using a simple oral appliance.
For far too many adults the idea of a good night’s sleep is just that – an idea. According to a poll from the National Sleep Foundation, the average person is sleeping 6 hours and 40 minutes on workdays, and an average of 7 hours and 25 minutes on other days. The numbers are a far cry from the average of 8 hours and 40 minutes per night that adults reported sleeping in the 1960s, and the health consequences of those lost hours can be dramatic, and may even be life-threatening.
Sleep disturbances are very common in endocrine disorders, particularly in metabolic disorders. Sleep restriction, or poor quality sleep, is now widely recognized as a risk factor for both obesity and type 2 diabetes. Untreated sleep disorders like snoring and sleep apnoea can exacerbate both diseases.
The consequences of chronic sleep loss can go far beyond simply feeling tired and research clearly shows that it produces a large increase in glucose sensitivity increasing the risk of diabetes.
UK Health News, along with many national newspapers this week reported that the number of people with diabetes in the UK has soared by 59.8% in a decade, according to a new analysis. Using official NHS data, the charity Diabetes UK says there are now more than 3.3 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes – an increase of 1.2 million adults compared with 10 years ago when there were just over 2 million people with the condition.
Diabetes UK is warning that this “exponential growth” in the numbers of people with diabetes underlines the urgent need for prevention before the sheer numbers of people with the disease overwhelms our health service resources.
It is also calling for better care and treatment for those who have already been diagnosed with this serious condition. Poorly managed diabetes can lead to devastating and expensive health complications such as kidney disease, stroke, blindness and amputations.
If we take steps to stop or prevent snoring, and control sleep apnea, we have hit the basis of the problem and it will go a long way to preventing type 2 diabetes, along with many other health problems.
Diabetes now uses 10% of NHS drugs bill
Diabetes now accounts for 10% of the NHS drugs bill in England, according to official figures and the latest Health and Social Care Information Centre report shows that £869m was spent on drugs for the disease last year which marks a sharp rise from the £514m being spent on the drugs a decade ago, when they accounted for just 6.6% of the prescriptions budget.
The figures include drugs for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes which affect 2.8 million people in England alone. It includes insulin, metformin and other anti-diabetic drugs.
Ian Bullard, who wrote the report, said: “It shows that 10p in the pound of the primary care prescribing bill in England alone is being spent on managing diabetes. Diabetes continues to be one of the most prevalent long-term conditions, and the number of patients being diagnosed with the condition is increasing each year.”
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, says: “Over the past decade, the number of people living with diabetes in the UK has increased by over 1 million people. With a record number of people now living with diabetes in the UK, there is no time to waste and the government must act now.
“Diabetes already costs the NHS nearly £10 billion a year, and 80% of this is spent on managing avoidable complications. So there is huge potential to save money and reduce pressure on NHS hospitals and services through providing better care to prevent people with diabetes from developing devastating and costly complications.
Educating the public is vital as to how they can prevent the onset of diabetes and other conditions. Now is the time for action. In addition Diabetes UK stresses that the NHS must prioritise better care and ensure that the public know what steps to take to prevent this.
Martin McShane, from NHS England, said: “These figures are a stark warning and reveal the increasing cost of diabetes. “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, it’s time to get serious about lifestyle change.”
Improving sleep, stopping snoring, controlling sleep apnoea and eating more healthily combined with losing weight are all key factors in the process.
Hypertension, which is usually referred to as high blood pressure, is one of the most common medical conditions to exist today, and it is probably the most widely treated. In more than 90% of cases, the cause of high blood pressure is unknown but several factors can increase your risk of developing the condition, including age, obesity, high alcohol intake, smoking and a lack of exerciObstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has close links to hypertension and research done recently in France has revealed that one very popular sleep apnoea treatment can help reduce blood pressure levels in patients with high blood pressure, and do it while they sleep.
Fatigue, daytime sleepiness and moodiness are all well-known side effects of a bad night’s sleep, the direct result of OSA, but many patients don’t realise that serious sleep problems can affect not only mood and energy levels, but physical health, as well. Raised blood pressure is a prime example of this.
Published as a research abstract in the Journal of Dental Sleep Medicine, the study monitored 299 patients with sleep apnoea, including 77 who also had high blood pressure. This took place over nine months while they used an oral appliance, a “mouth guard-like” device made to custom fit by a specialist approved company and worn during sleep to maintain an open, unobstructed airway. The researchers analysed the treatment’s effect on patients’ oxygen levels, sleep apnoea symptoms and overall quality of life.
Ultimately, the study found that oral appliance therapy using this kind of mouthpiece significantly lowered the systolic and diastolic blood pressure of patients with arterial hypertension. In 59%of these patients, blood pressure was normalised by using an oral appliance to treat sleep apnoea.
This is important news for patients struggling with sleep apnoea because oral appliances are often found to be more comfortable and easier to wear every night than the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask traditionally used to treat sleep apnoea. A CPAP machine sends a flow of air through tubing and a mask to keep the airway open and patients breathing. While it is highly effective at treating sleep apnoea, up to 50% of patients do not continue to use CPAP treatment long-term because they find it dries the mouth and it is both uncomfortable and oppressive.
If a patient is unwilling or unable to wear their CPAP nightly, they are most likely to be a prime candidate for oral appliance therapy. Custom-fitted by an NHS Approved specialist who works hand-in-hand with a sleep physician, oral appliances hold the lower jaw forward and keep the airway open. Oral appliances are silent, easy to travel with and proven effective, especially for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnoea.
The main example of this in the UK is the NHS Approved SleepPro Custom that has been rigorously tested by the Sleep Specialist team at the world-renowned Papworth Hospital in Britain, where they listed it as the number one choice to control mild to moderate OSA>
Sleep apnoea and high blood pressure are commonly tied together, and it’s important for snorers, and their families to be aware that untreated sleep apnoea is a potentially life-threatening condition. It can increase the risk for serious health problems from congestive heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease to diabetes, obesity, depression and impotence.
SleepPro Custom is the leading NHS Approved appliance for heavier snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnoea, so if you, or another family member suffers from this health problem, then it’s important to start to control it as early as possible.