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Sleeping Beauty? Rude awakening for women who snore
ResMedApr 30, 2012 11:04 BST
30th April: A qualitative study from ResMed (NYSE: RMD) and YouGov today highlights the emotional strain felt by women struggling to live up to the ’myth of sleeping beauty' and the health impact on women who ignore their snoring.
ResMed, a global leader in sleep and respiratory medicine, conducted the study to coincide with the launch of a new suite of sleep apnoea products, tailored towards women.
The study revealed a strong sense of social stigma surrounding female snoring and the extreme lengths that women will go to in order to conceal their secret sleeping habit.
When asked to describe their snoring in one word, respondents used: ’embarrassing’, ’loud’, ’irritating’ and ’a nuisance’. These feelings were directly related to other people’s reactions; many respondents referred to the humiliation they felt when partners, friends and family teased them and the impact this had on their feelings of femininity. Comments included:
- “It makes me feel less glamorous.”
- “Snoring is perceived as an ‘unladylike’ problem.”
- “It’s a bit ‘unfeminine’”
All the women in the study declared their everyday lives to be affected by their snoring with one respondent commenting,“If I get woken up (by my snoring) I am generally grumpy, snappy and irritable the next day” and all report feeling tired with their daytime alertness affected.
Despite the impact of snoring on their lives, none of the study participants would consider visiting their GP to discuss the problem. Furthermore, most did not perceive snoring as a health problem. One respondent commented, “I would be embarrassed to go to the doctor because it seems like a trivial problem”.
Respondents also claimed their partners were far more likely to complain about their snoring...even when both partners snored. ”Although it makes me feel better that he snores too, he is more bothered by mine than I am by his!”
Rebecca Mullins, Clinical Nurse Specialist, ResMed, comments, “It is alarming how resistant these women are to approaching their doctor about their snoring.
“Excessive snoring can be a sign of underlying health problems, specifically sleep apnoea. Left untreated, sleep apnoea can have a serious impact on lifestyle factors, with sufferers experiencing constant sleepiness, weight gain and depression.”
Sleep apnoea affects up to 4% of the UK’s adult population but fewer than 10% of those affected are currently receiving treatment. Women of any age can be affected, but it is often linked to health changes during pregnancy or menopause, and it can be associated with conditions such as hypertension, obesity, heart failure, and stroke as well as type 2diabetes.
Figures from NICE, SATA and ResMed estimate that around 2% of women in England have sleep apnoea (equating to 402,000 women). Of this figure, up to 378,301 remain undiagnosed and untreated.
Rebecca Mullins says, “However embarrassing it is for you for your partner to point out that you snore, if he or she considers it to be excessive, consider visiting your doctor.”
Once recognised and diagnosed, sleep apnoea is easily treated and the gold standard treatment for sleep apnoea and most commonly used, is CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). The treatment is very successful and involves wearing a mask at night, connected to a small CPAP device which delivers a stream of air, holding the airway open, allowing the patient to sleep soundly, and wake feeling refreshed.
Rebecca Mullins comments, “CPAP masks for women have been transformed with a compact design, lightweight comfort and ultra soft headgear, the masks are especially designed for women’s unique needs and offer more choice for comfortable, customised therapy. The ‘For Her’ range features minimal design to make it less obtrusive when worn.”
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Duke or Kate Baker
For more information on the ’For Her’ range please visit: www.realsleep.co.uk
 Taken from Young T, Palta M, Dempsey J et al (1993) The occurrence of sleep-disordered breathing among middle-aged adults. New England Journal of Medicine, 328:1230-1235.