Snoring can be one of the biggest bugbears in relationships, as partners struggle to drop off while their loved one rests peacefully, but not quietly. A story in today's Daily Mail has found that there is, however, a more serious side to this, as chronic snoring is often a sign of sleep apnoea. The condition affects nearly one in 20 people and causes the tissues in the throat to collapse, blocking the airways.
Not only can this result in loud snoring, but it can cause you to stop breathing for short periods, depriving the body of oxygen.The over-70s are particularly at risk - the condition affects one in five in this group - as are people who are overweight, as extra tissue around the neck puts pressure on the airways.
One of the most common treatments is a type of mask worn at night, called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This delivers compressed air to prevent the airway from closing.However, many sufferers find the masks uncomfortable and simply stop using them.
However, a new generation of CPAP machines, which are lighter, quieter and more comfortable, may help. These include the Philips Nuance mask, which is placed on the end of the nose, rather than completely over it.
Another new CPAP mask is the Nasal Aire II, from InnoMed Technologies, which consists only of a nose piece with inserts for the nostrils, removing the need for headgear. It costs £139.