(With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore – no relation)
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house.
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The world was a-sleeping in our Christmas story
When the silence was shattered by loud Snorey Moorey ……….
All Mrs Moore wants for Christmas is a hefty dose of Silent Night.
As I’ve got older I’ve become a snorer. I took some convincing as I’ve never actually heard myself….well up until the point my wife recorded me on her iPhone as irrefutable evidence that I sounded like a log sawing machine on full tilt.
I took advantage of our wonderful National Health Service and went to see my doctor who passed me onto the ENT Department at the local hospital. In spite of their impending bankruptcy they were concerned enough to lend me a monitor to see if I had sleep apnoea.
Before my wife had time to top up my life insurance the machine informed that my blood oxygen remained constant and I didn’t actually stop breathing during the night.
However after some nasal prodding the consultant announced my nasal septum was deviated. “Have you ever had my nose dislocated?” he asked. I confirmed I had, several years previously, by a gang of little cherubs, none too keen on the cops, who decided to beat my nose sideways. In fact it was less of a dislocation and more of a relocation, leaving me with a proboscis that could smell around corners.
They also broke my jaw in two places – they always break in two places a bit like a Polo mint apparently. They wanted to wire the jaw and reset my nose under general anaesthetic but as I was getting married 10 days later I talked the specialist back then into resetting my nose in his office (which I thought in today’s claim culture was very sporting of him). He thought I was the bravest chap in the world for sitting there quietly whilst he snapped my nose back to a very approximate vertical. It was actually the most excruciating pain I’d ever felt in my life but what the consultant didn’t know was that his free hand was firmly holding my broken jaw and so any movement was somewhat out of the question. My fault I should have thought to mention the broken jaw.
Anyway enough nostalgia (or is it nostralgia?) – I’ll tell you the full story of that ambush (which I affectionately named ‘The Battle of Chav Creek’), another day.
Back to Snorey Moorey and my ENT consultant decided that the blockage might be causing the snoring and wanted to book me in for some sort of septum re-bore. He explained the main risk was that it’s possible to slip with the pointy sharp thing and bore a hole through the septum wall (a very different kind of septum piercing). This wouldn’t be seriously detrimental to my health but would mean that I would make a whistling sound every time I breathed through my nose. I struggled to contain my excitement at this prospect which threw him a bit. I’m an entertainer I explained that may open doors for me – I don’t think there’s ever been a whistling nose on Britain’s Got Talent. Just think of the tunes you could knock out, ‘Anasing Grace’, ‘It might as well rain until Septumber’.
Anyway the operation was a success – well if you can call walking about with ladies products up your nostrils for a few days a success. After several weeks of things about which we can never speak exiting from my nose I could breathe through both nostrils for the first time in years. Hurrah! ….. but I still snored like an asthmatic wild boar running up a steep gradient whilst gargling.
There are different reasons for people snore – nose, tongue and throat can all be players but the most common cause are wobbly soft tissue bits in the throat that relax during sleep and partially block the airflow. Women naturally have wider windpipes (no I am certainly not going to make a ‘more room for voice box’ gag) and so men are more susceptible but all windpipes get narrower with age and as muscle tone decreases then your glottis gets floppier than Mr Soft at the tai chi class having a spliff.
Cures vary – anything from simple lifestyle changes to invasive surgery attacking the floppy bits with scalpels or even mini blow-torches.
I say simple lifestyle choices – they’re the terrifying ones like don’t drink alcohol at night or lose weight. Lose weight is the obvious one to commit to – except of course, you don’t really mean it and as the years pass slimming into your larynx hangs in the wardrobe next to that shirt that you refuse to throw away because one day…..
And as for not drinking: Listen I’m settled, happily married in my own home that I’ve worked hard for and if you told me that the terrible emotional and financial trauma of a divorce would leave me a sad, broken man, living in the isolated squalor of a one bedroomed, mouldy, council flat in Scunthorpe….but at least I’d be able to sit there in the evening and have a glass of red and a couple of squares of Cadbury Milk then I’d have to give it some serious consideration.
So various throat sprays and herbal cures are on the market which will help you ‘sleep like a baby’ – what wake up every 4 hours crying your arse off?
What about the ‘Stop snore ring’?’ Where do you put it?’ I hear you ask. No not around your neck but on your little finger – it works on the principle of acupressure; the wearing of the ring on the little finger applies a slight pressure to a specific meridian line it’s made of copper and has two magnets. It’s only £6.20 plus £2.99 p+p although heavy snorers may need one for each finger apparently!
Anybody sceptical yet? So was I and that one remains untried. I’m a believer in acupressure principles but a little finger ring tightening up soft tissue in the throat was a stretch too far for me.
I also discarded the ‘anti-snore pillow, nose-clips, and the ‘amazing’ snooze nostril expander.
Surely the simple way to tackle this would be to present my beloved with a pair of good quality earplugs, in a vintage Faberge gift box perhaps, for Christmas and problem solved? Nope I’m afraid not – it’s as much of a vibration thing as a sound thing and can feel as though you’re laying on a mattress that’s perched on a washing machine going through the fast spin cycle.
I did have a little success with the anti-snoring mouthpiece. These are based on the principle that it’s difficult to snore if you have a protruding bottom jaw like an angry piranha fish. No really – try it now. Breathe in through your nose and try and make a piggy snorty sound. Now stick your bottom jaw out and try and do the same thing – much harder isn’t it?
So you soften the soft plastic mouth-piece (resembling a gum shield) in boiling water, then mould it on your bottom set of teeth whilst protruding your bottom jaw out as far as you can. You’ll find this easier if you simultaneously say “Alright my loves?” in a Bruce Forsyth voice. Surely this one’s a winner? Not quite I found I was waking up to discover the mouth-piece spat out onto my cheek like a discarded half-chewed Haribo snake.
Then you up the anti-snore ante with double mouthpiece. Harder to spit out but doable or you will go through the pain barrier to force your lower jaw backwards against the mouthpiece back into snoring position – such is your subconscious determination to annoy your wife. Or at least that’s how she’ll frame it.
After these failed attempts you are now ready to humiliate yourself with the anti-snoring face harness or chin-strap. Yes this is absolutely as bad as it sounds and although a stretchy lycra material it does seem to have been modelled on Hannibal Lecter’s mask. Again not very effective but a really morale booster to cheer the wife up. I’ll never forget my dearly beloved motivating me with the words “I hope you sleep well, oh and don’t forget to put on your face-bra.”
If you put your elasticated face-bra over your double gum shield it does stop you spitting it out but unfortunately also makes breathing at regular intervals quite difficult.
My favourite device of all was the ‘anti-snoring wrist band’. Sounds harmless enough doesn’t it? Ha ha wrong! What this bit of kit does is measure the decibels of your snoring and when it reaches a certain level wakes you up by delivering an electric shock to your wrist! The funny bit was when I first tried it I thought it wasn’t working so I just kept turning it up until it delivered an electric shock which made me laugh out loud ….however on hearing my laughter it gave me a stronger electric shock which made me yell a bit….however on hearing my yell it thought it was dealing with a particularly rebellious snorer and automatically cranked up the voltage and before long I found myself trapped in this perpetual torturous cycle of punishment which only stopped when I was able to develop a silent scream.
The device was made in China – further evidence of their culture of cruelty and blatant disregard for human rights.
Electronic collars were deemed too cruel as a training device for police dogs but fine for unconscious people with a medical condition it seems.
Anyway I was a police officer if I wanted to be punished with an electric shock I would have brought the taser gun home with me for my wife to dry-stun me on the arse when I my snoring got too loud.
I remember that harrowing scene in The Green Mile where the prisoner in the electric chair didn’t die quickly. From now on I’ll always be wondering if he was just a really bad snorer.
Besides this device won’t stop you snoring – it’ll just stop you sleeping. The principle that your body will learn to adapt is flawed. That’s like saying if every time you closed your eyes someone sticks a pin in your foot then you’ll eventually learn to sleep with your eyes open. No you won’t you’ll just stay awake until you go insane! It’s like saying if someone keeps holding your head under water eventually you’ll learn to breathe like a fish….no you won’t you’ll just die!
So that’s it for 2015. Have a peaceful and happy festive period and see you again in 2016.