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17/Jun/2019

Sleep is precious, it sets you up for the day ahead and allows you to make clear choices. Even a slight disruption to your usual routine can leave you foggy headed and irritable. Depending on the reason for your lack of sleep there may be something you can do about it. If the lighter mornings are waking you earlier than you would like, put up some black out blinds and voila, problem solved. Perhaps your bed is not as comfy as it used to be, invest in a new mattress and suddenly you’re sleeping like a baby again. But for some the problem as easily fixed, it’s their partner!

Snoring affects about half of us at some point in our lives. Habitual snoring is more common in men than women and as many as 40% of men and 27% of women snore regularly.1 Just because snoring is something that we have probably all experienced doesn’t make it any less disruptive.

23rd-27th April 2018 is national Stop Snoring Week. The theme this year is ‘Can new technology help the nation stop snoring?’ So, we are taking the opportunity to look at some of the treatment options out there to see if there is a solution that works.

The general guidance to snorers is to try avoid sleeping on your back, you might find using cushions may help to keep you on your side or even attaching a tennis ball to the back of your pyjamas, so if you roll on your back in your sleep, you will find it uncomfortable and quickly revert to sleeping on your side! There is an increased likelihood of snoring in people who are overweight and those who drink alcohol. If this relates to you, then you could try avoiding alcohol and work on maintaining a healthy weight to see if that improves the symptoms.

Here’s a novel idea… your mobile phone can be used to help you understand the extent of your snoring. Maybe you are relying on your partner telling you how loud you are, and you think they are exaggerating. There are a number of apps now available to ‘record the snore’. This can help you build a picture to establish if you snore all the time or only on occasion, such as after a few drinks. The recordings can be useful to provide your doctor with a sleep history if you visit them about treatment options.

Snoring sprays and strips are widely available from pharmacies and online retailers, they have varying results for people, partly because they don’t work for all snore types. You can take this online test to help you to establish what type of snorer you are – http://www.britishsnoring.co.uk/itests/

If you chose to visit your GP, then they are likely to try to establish if you are just a noisy sleeper or if there is something more sinister going on such as sleep apnoea which is where the wall of the throat relaxes while you are sleeping and disrupts normal breathing resulting in a snore. Your recordings or partner may be able to fill in some of the blanks for you at this appointment. Once they have established the cause they may recommend nasal dilators to hold open your nostrils, a chin strap to keep your mouth closed or device to make you breathe through your nose or bring your tongue forward.

If getting the phone app does nothing more than make you understand that you really do snore, then this is at least the first step to doing something about it. Let stop snoring week be the push you need to try to change your sleeping habits.

References

  1. Sleep Education – http://www.sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/snoring/overview-and-facts
  2. NHS conditions – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/snoring/

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