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National Stop Snoring Week 2017

Snoring noise and sleep disturbance - is it a threat to our health?

The sound of snoring is irritating and annoying and can lead to sleep deprivation for the bed partner. But the noise of snoring can also cause a number of health problems.

We all know how it feels if we have not had a good night's sleep - we feel tired and sleepy all day, bad tempered, lacking concentration, and generally irritable. Bed partners who are disturbed every night by snoring they experience these symptoms every day.

The noise level that starts to have an effect on sleep is around 40dB. The noise of snoring can range from about 50dB to 100+dB, and research has consistently found that when exposed to noise at these levels, it can have a negative effect on all areas of our wellbeing.

Noise at night has become a major problem, and many people consider that a good night's sleep is a basic human entitlement essential for maintaining good health. Indeed, sleep is so important that the World Health Organisation (WHO) document several categories of adverse health and social effects from noise.

Sleep disturbance, hearing impairment, daytime functioning, mental health problems, cognitive issues and negative social behaviour can be symptoms of being subjected to loud noise over a period of time. Sleep deprivation can also have a negative impact on body systems such as hormonal release, glucose regulation and cardiovascular function, leading to overall poor health.

Evidence has shown that the louder the noise, the worse the sleep. The quality of the noise is also an issue. Some noises can be subjectively annoying whilst others of the same level are not. It is well know that the noise of snoring is one that cannot be tolerated for long without disrupted sleep.

Some bed partners who sleep with their snorer every night try to sleep through the noise and ignore it. However, it has been shown that although you may sleep through the night, the quality of sleep will be much reduced and you will not feel as refreshed in the morning as you should. Noise tends to reduce our deep refreshing sleep to more shallow sleep, and will also reduce dreaming sleep. It is well documented that bed partners of snorers have been found to be at risk of hearing loss due to continuous noise exposure.

Other partners find themselves re-locating to the spare room in the middle of the night in order to get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. Many of them have feelings of guilt in leaving the bedroom - but they have a right to a good night's sleep. Nevertheless, the stress of the situation can put a great strain on the health and relationship of both partners.

So how can these issues be resolved?
The snorer must acknowledge the problem and take steps to resolve it. Snoring will not go away - it will only get worse if not addressed.

Self-help remedies - see http://www.britishsnoring.co.uk for help & information.

If you cannot resolve the snoring by self-help remedies seek professional help to find the cause and appropriate treatment. Make an appointment to see one of our sleep specialists in our clinic. http://www.thereigatesleepclinic.co.uk

KEY POINTS:

  • NOISE LEVEL THAT STARTS TO HAVE AN EFFECT ON SLEEP IS 40dB
  • SNORING SOUND RANGES FROM 50dB TO 100+dB
  • THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO) DOCUMENT SEVERAL CATEGORIES OF ADVERSE HEALTH AND SOCIAL EFFECTS FROM NOISE
  • EXPOSURE TO NOISE AT NIGHT CAN LEAD TO POOR HEALTH
  • BED PARTNERS WHO SLEEP WITH A SNORER HAVE REDUCED QUALITY AND QUANTITY OF SLEEP
  • SLEEPING WITH A SNORER CAN CAUSE HEARING IMPAIRMENT FOR THE BED PARTNER



References:

Blumen M et al (2012) Is snoring intensity responsible for the sleep partners' poor quality of sleep?
Sleep & Breathing 16 903-907.

Dreher A et al (2009) The annoyance of snoring.
Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 266 293-296.

Ekin S et al (2016) Is there a relationship between OSA and hearing loss.
Med Sci Monit 22 3124-3128.

Erilksson C et al (2014) Long term aircraft noise exposure and body mass index, waist circumference and type 2 diabetes.
Environmental Health Perspectives 22 (7) 687-694.

Evandt J et al (2017) A population based study on night-time road traffic noise and insomnia.
Sleep 40 (2) 1-10.

Halperin D (2014) Environmental noise & sleep disturbances: A threat to health?
Sleep Science 7 209-212.

Hume K. (2011) Noise pollution: A ubiquitous unrecognised disruptor of sleep.
Sleep 34 25-30.

Rohrmeier C et al (2012) The annoyance of snoring and psychoacoustic parameters: A step towards an objective measurement.
Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 269 1537-1543.

Stanfield S & Matheson P (2003) Noise pollution: non-auditory effects on health.
British Medical Bulletin 68 243-275.

Book: Counting Sheep: the science and pleasures of sleep and dreams.
Flamingo 2003.