Living with a snorer – you snooze, we lose
Snoring is a nasal sound made by people who are sleeping. It can sound like anything from a rattle to a grunt, and the volume can be anything from gentle to ear-splitting. But because it is done unconsciously, during sleep, it is one of the few conditions where the sufferer is not usually the person with the symptoms but the person/people who lives with them.
In most cases the worst consequence of snoring is that the person who shares a room with the snorer is unable to fall asleep as quickly as they would have liked. However for other people snoring is an audible indicator of a serious health condition. Sleep apnoea is a condition where the walls of the throat contract during sleep to such an extent that the sufferers breathing is constricted.
In very serious cases people who have sleep apnoea find their airways blocked completely for over ten seconds. The twin condition of Apnoea is called Hypoapnoea, which involves a reduction in airflow of between 50% and 100% for over ten seconds. The umbrella name for the two conditions is Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
The body’s natural response to shortness or shallowness of breath, especially during sleep, is to release a chemical called acetylcholine which wakes them up quickly. The restlessness and fitfulness of OSA sufferers sleeping hours usually causes fatigue and slow reaction times during waking hours. In most, if not all cases, this can lead to irritability and relationship difficulties.
Partners and families of people with Sleep apnoea complain of the difficulties of living with people who suffer such difficult sleeping patterns. Even worse is the waking hours which they share with a person who is, effectively, suffering from sleep deprivation. Between the deafening snoring at night time and the irritability during the day, being the partner of a Sleep apnoea sufferer can be almost unbearable.
The symptoms of sleep apnoea, as listed on the NHS Choices website are:
- Extremely loud heavy snoring, often interrupted by pauses and gasps
- Excessive daytime sleepiness, e.g., falling asleep at work, whilst driving, during conversation or when watching TV. (This should not be confused with excessive tiredness with which we all suffer from time to time)
- Irritability, short temper
- Morning headaches
- Changes in mood or behaviour
- Anxiety or depression
- Decreased interest in your husband or wife
*taken from the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association.
These symptoms all have a huge impact on the lives of not just the sufferer but also their families.
The Sleep Apnoea Trust Association (SATA) was set up in 2014 to research into cures for the condition and act as a support group for sufferers and their families. SATA organised the UK’s biggest ever Sleep apnoea patient conference, which was attended by over 300 Sleep apnoea patients in the JR Hospital, Oxford, on the 17th of October 2015. Alongside their partner Charity, the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association, they have worked tirelessly since their foundation to raise awareness of the suffering of people for whom snoring has stopped being an annoyance and become a serious and dangerous medical condition.
For most people who live with a snorer the problem of snoring is nothing more than a minor aggravation. However for others the problem represents a very serious medical condition. Only in the last few years and through the charities like SATA have the complaints of sleep apnoea sufferers and their families become loud enough that everyone is taking them seriously.
- What is snoring?
- Do you know anyone who snores?
- Do you think it is fair to wake someone up if their snoring is keeping you up at night?
- Are there any cures for snoring in your country? What?
- Would you refuse to marry someone if you knew they were a snorer before you got married to them?
True / False / Not given
- Snoring is a sound that comes from the ear.
- Snoring is one of the common symptoms of Sleep apnoea.
- When people who have Sleep apnoea are asleep their throats get bigger.
- Sleep apnoea is a painful disease.
- Acetylcholine is a drug prescribed by doctors to help cure Sleep apnoea
- Living with someone who has Sleep apnoea can be very difficult.
- One of the symptoms of Sleep apnoea is low mood.
- People with Sleep apnoea get angry quite easily.
- The Sleep Apnoea Trust Association (SATA) was founded in 2014.
Paragraphs – matching activity
Introduction/ List of symptoms of Sleep apnoea/ breathing and sleep apnoea/ what is sleep apnoea/ Charities that work with people who have Sleep apnoea/ the body’s response to Sleep apnoea/ conclusion
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Paragraph 7 – Conclusion