Myths surrounding a common sleep condition will be put to bed this weekend at an awareness day taking place at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon.
Often found to be more problematic in men than women, sleep apnoea creates breathing difficulties during the night as a person’s airwaves become narrower than normal.
The restriction of airflow will cause a person to suddenly wake up before falling back to sleep, a process which can be played out every few minutes in the most severe cases.
Caused by the throat muscles relaxing during sleep, a person’s risk of developing sleep apnoea increases if they are overweight, a smoker, a heavy drinker or have a large neck.
The open day on Saturday 2 July will be an opportunity for local people worried about their own or their partner’s sleep health to chat about the problem with experts.
Samantha Backway, Specialist Sleep Nurse, said: “We hold this awareness day annually and every year we see people come to us with the same signs and symptoms. Sufferers may not always remember their sleep interruptions in the morning and will only know they have spent most of the night in and out of sleep by feeling extremely tired throughout the day.
“Other signs, which only your partner might be aware of, include snoring loudly and snoring between gasps for air. Wives will often bring their husbands along, who are sometimes unaware they have a problem.
“If these sound like familiar problems, the hospital’s sleep team will be around on the day to give you advice, information and tips on how to treat sleep apnoea.”
People coming along will be able to browse and purchase devices to help keep sleep apnoea at bay, such as masks which provide a constant flow of air during sleep and specialist gum shields. Representatives from the Sleep Apnoea Trust will also give educational talks on the day and there will be a raffle to raise money for the Sleep Unit.
Admission to the event, which takes place between 10am and 3pm in the Academy at the Great Western Hospital, is priced at £2.
More information on sleep apnoea can be found on the NHS Choices website, www.nhs.uk.