Snoring study


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Snoring… Half of us do it every night and it's the cause of many a marriage strain… and even a relationship killer.

60 percent of men keep their partners up every night. Kris Rogers is one of them. He is one of millions of Aussie men who suffer from snoring and says it's been 7 years since he had a good rest.

"The snoring seems to really be affecting my partner as well, she has to wake me up several times a night to stop me from snoring and sometimes it doesn't even stop when she gets me off my back, says Kris.

TV personality Shelly Horton is outing her new boyfriend Darren as a shocking snorer… in fact the activity between the sheets is so bad the couple don't sleep in the same bed every night.

"If the snoring wasn't an issue I would be happy for us to be together 7 nights a week but I get to the point after three or four nights where I have been woken up so many times, then I have got to get up for work, that I actually need to come back to my place of unbroken sleep.

Kris, Shelly and Darren have all volunteered to spend the night at the Woolcock Sleep Institute. For 10 hours big brother will monitor their every toss, turn and breath.

There are ground-breaking procedures and non-invasive techniques claiming to solve the sleepless nights… plates, masks and even pillows but Fergus McPherson found his cure in breathing retraining.

Fergus was diagnosed with sleep apnoea… 75% of those who snore have the condition where the throat temporarily collapses during sleep resulting in the breath stopping for a short period of time causing an arousal during sleep.

"It became particularly embarrassing when I was at a RAF base in Richmond in a meeting and just could not stay awake, ask a question to a client and realised I had fallen asleep in the middle of it.

Doctors suggested surgery but instead Fergus opted for an alternative non-invasive technique taught by breathing specialist Tess Graham.

"The first changes are usually noticeable within minutes and most people sleep better right from the first night," says Tess.

It requires intense concentration and focus... the key is to retrain how you breath, slower, and through the nose.

"You can immediately notice they feel calmer they usually immediately notice they feel calmer, their breathing rate goes down, they use their diaphragm properly and it becomes immediate and more efficient to breath generally their nose starts to feel less blocked and that is usually within minutes.

Brendan Yee from the Woolcock Sleep Institute says breathing retraining is an unproven method... And says the most popular methods for treating snoring or sleep apnoea is the cpap machine which works by using air pressure to keep the airway open and a mouth plate which brings the lower jaw forward, bringing the tongue forward and opening up the air passage.

"There may be a group of patients that may respond to retraining of the throat but the evidence and the studies so far have been relatively limited," says Brendan.

The results from Shelly, Darren and Kris's sleep study revealed all three suffered from mild sleep apnoea.

"I was surprised I wasn't expecting it to be sleep apnoea my main concern was maybe my erratic movements and snoring. I didn't fully understand what sleep apnoea was but once they explained it and how it works I felt a lot better that there was a way to mitigate this problem," says Kris.

Since his diagnosis Kris has been using the continuous positive airway pressure machine and for the first time in years he now sleeps through the night.

"I am a lot less irritable, I have a lot more energy, I have been spending a lot more time going out with friends, going for walks and I am not snoring and kicking as much anymore which makes my wife very happy," says Kris.

As for Shelly and Darren, they are still together... Darren now wears a dental plate which has worked so well and the couple have moved in together.

Tess Graham's book is called "Relief from Snoring and Sleep Apnoea" published by Penguin and costs $29.95.

Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health
Repatriation General Hospital
Daws Rd, Daw Park
South Australia 5041
T: 61 8 8275 1187
F: 61 8 8277 6890