One in five adults could suffer from the snoring disorder sleep apnea, which can lead to problems in everyday life.
More than eight million people in the UK aged 30 to 69 suffer from the dangerous condition where breathing stops and starts again during sleep – but 85 per cent are not even aware of it.
If left untreated, those affected have a 30 percent higher risk of heart disease and a 60 percent higher risk of suffering a stroke.
Dr. David Garley, from the Better Sleep Clinic, told Sun on Sunday Health: “Some people stop breathing 60 times an hour when they sleep.
“Most people who suffer from it also snore and don’t realize they have it unless someone else sees them sleeping and notices.
“But because you’re so tired during the day, you may suffer from low mood and poor concentration.
“You might even fall asleep during the day.
“In the long term, people with sleep apnea have a higher risk of coronary heart disease, depression, stroke and a 140 percent higher risk of heart failure.
“It can also lead to type 2 diabetes and those affected may develop dementia earlier in life.”
“People with this disease also have a higher risk of having a car accident because they are so tired.”
When you sleep, your airways naturally narrow.
For some people, this causes turbulence in the airflow, causing the soft tissues to vibrate and causing snoring.
In sleep apnea, the airways narrow so much that airflow is restricted or the airways close completely. Obesity, alcohol consumption, smoking, sleeping on your back and an underactive thyroid increase your risk.
It is more common in men and the risk increases with age.
Dr. Garley said: “At least eight million Brits have it and that number is rising.”
“It’s important to know the signs, which include loud snoring, gasping for air while sleeping, waking up with dry mouth or morning headaches, and difficulty staying asleep.
It is often up to the partners to recognize the disease.
Dr. Garley said: “Snoring is a big problem when you’re in a relationship.
“Sometimes couples experience what is known as a “sleep divorce,” where they end up sleeping in separate bedrooms.
“They won’t go on holiday together because they don’t want to sleep in the same room.
“I’ve seen people drag their partners into our clinic by their collars because it’s so often worse for the people next to them in bed than for the snorers themselves.”
Patients may be treated with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which delivers constant and consistent air pressure through a tube connected to a mask or nose piece to help you breathe while you sleep.
The Sun invited three couples to a snoring interview on Sunday to find out how bad their noises are.
Using a kit from The Better Sleep Clinic that consists of a watch-like device, a finger probe, and a chest pad, they recorded sounds throughout the night and Dr. Garley analyzed the results. . .
“Sweet sniffing as loud as an office”
JUAN Lopez, 35, a sound engineer, is married to mother-of-two Michelle, 37, from Ealing, London.
He says his wife’s snoring sounds like a train.
Michelle’s sleep test confirmed she reached 60 decibels – as loud as a crowded restaurant or office.
And that for 20 percent of the night.
Dr. Garley said: “Even when Michelle’s snoring dropped to 50 decibels, it was fairly constant and would affect her quality of sleep and also be a problem for Juan.
“At that volume, it’s probably a sign of sleep apnea too.”
Michelle said: “I always thought I was sniffing cute and Juan was just teasing.”
“It is invaluable to know that help is available”
SOL Rowley, a mother of three, and DJ husband Chris, both 45, from Stoke on Trent, often argue about her loud snoring, which was unusual.
Dr. Garley said: “It was an average of 50 decibels, up to 70 decibels on and off throughout the night.
“She also has all the signs of sleep apnea and stopped breathing for at least ten seconds 39 times per hour.
“Her snoring prevented her from sleeping deeply.
“She would benefit from a CPAP machine.”
Sol said: “It is invaluable to know that I have an illness and can get help.”
“Noise is comparable to a washing machine”
CAROLINE Duddrige, 64, a teaching assistant, says her partner Dean Jones’ snoring is as loud as a pneumatic drill.
The former police officer’s test revealed light to moderate snoring, about 30 to 40 decibels.
Dr. Garley said: “We estimate light snoring to be around 40 decibels, which was fairly constant for Dean, briefly increasing to 60 or 70 – the sound of a washing machine – as he rolled from his side onto his back.”
Dean, 65, said: “Caroline thinks they could play my snoring for fog warnings at sea.”
“Knowing I’m an easy snorer is a relief.”