The Sydney Morning Herald regularly reports on the impacts of snoring, from couples’ “sleep divorces” to health effects to the fact that disrupted sleep costs Australians an estimated $26 billion per year.
Their latest story featured Dr Garry Cussell discussing our SleepTight program to treat snoring and sleep apnoea. He discussed how snoring leaves many of our patients too tired to function properly. It affects their relationships (especially when the noise forces partners to sleep in separate rooms), it affects their social lives when they’re too tired to go out and it affects their productivity at work. Not to mention, snoring and sleep apnoea deprive the brain and heart of oxygen in the night.
Dr Cussell made an important point when he said that behaviour modification is a crucial element to a snoring treatment plan. Snoring occurs when the soft palate at the back of the throat hangs down and obstructs the airway. Laser snoring treatments can be used to contract tissue fibres and stimulate collagen production which lifts, tightens and strengthens the palate to prevent it from hanging down. In addition to these treatments, Dr Cussell uses a small wearable neck device that “records sleep data and trains patients to sleep on their side to help prevent snoring and sleep apnoea,’’ he says. ‘‘For instance, when a chronic snorer sleeps on their back for too long, and the tongue as well as the soft palate blocks the airways, the device vibrates to stir the patient to change their sleep position.”
Patient sleep data can also be downloaded from this small device and analysed as an objective measure of how the program is working and how it can be evolved to meet each patient’s individual needs.
It doesn’t end there, Dr Cussell explained. He also discusses lifestyle changes that can help manage snoring, such as reducing alcohol intake.
The SleepTight article was published in the print edition of the Sydney Morning Herald on the 19th of June 2019, but you can read it in full by clicking here or downloading the PDF below: