Turning night times into a zone free of zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Dentist Michael Kirk fits Alistair Haxton with his Sleepwell anti-snoring splint
Dentist Michael Kirk fits Alistair Haxton with his Sleepwell anti-snoring splint
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Love is... Going to bed looking like Jaws, the Bond movie baddie, just so the wife can get a good night’s sleep.

After reading a column I’d penned about the nightmare of a husband who snores, Neil Bulliment got in touch, offering to help.

No more farmyard noises from the other side of the bed, waking me up five times a night? Bring it on.

Fortunately, my husband was tired of being woken up every night, too - by the wife digging him in the ribs.

First, it meant a trip to the dentist. You don’t buy one of these devices off the shelf; perfect fit is essential. Moulds of my husband’s upper and lower jaw had to be taken so that a device could be custom-made at S4S.

He visited the Montgomery Dental Practice on Infirmary Road for diagnostic assessment and to have impressions of his teeth taken, then returned to have the device fitted and checked (future visits may be necessary for adjustments).

Dentist Michael Kirk explained how the Sleepwell works: “It holds the lower jaw forward, which changes muscle tension in the throat and pulls on the larynx, stopping it vibrating,” he said.

“That’s where the noise is caused; it doesn’t come from the nose or the back of the throat, like people think.”

Taking a little screwdriver to make a few adjustments to the device he had clicked into place in my husband’s mouth, he explained: “The top section hooks on to the lower device. Most people can unlock them simply by opening their mouth.”

I felt a surge of guilt; for my sake, my husband’s jaws would be clamped shut all night long.

But Michael, who has fitted devices for hundreds of patients in a decade, assured us not only that it would work, but that patients say they too sleep better thanks to the device.

“Most come to me because their partner has persuaded them to but then they discover there’s a benefit for them, too,” he said.

“They get more oxygen as they sleep, plus they are not being woken up by an irate partner.”

On Night One, my husband Alistair scowled as he clicked what looked like gum shields into place and clipped them together.

I had to remind him that his snoring is not my fault. He mumbled something indistinguishable by way of reply. That’s another bonus of the Sleepwell. Once fitted, your husband cannot argue back. It’s like a modern-day, roles-reversed version of a Scold’s Bridle.

It didn’t stop him falling asleep, however; it took him his usual ten seconds, after which I didn’t hear a peep out of him all night, let alone a grunt.

In fact, he was so quiet, it was disconcerting. I actually woke him up to check he was still breathing. The next morning we both felt we’d had the best sleep in years and two weeks on, bar a few seconds of an attempted snore the other night, our bed is now a zed-free zone. The Sleepwell works like a dream. He sleeps like a baby. Though I have been woken up a few times... By my own gentle zzzzing!

Alistair’s verdict: “You learn to ignore the fact that you have an alien object in your mouth for seven hours. The Sleepwell really does work.

“And don’t worry about what it looks like because who’s going to see you apart from the dog? The wife is fast asleep (finally).”