Spending a wakeful night listening to the symphony of a partner's snoring could be at an end with a new tongue tingler that has been developed by researchers.
During each breath, the device sends a pulse of energy to a nerve in the throat. This then stimulates a muscle in the tongue, which helps to keep the -airway open during sleep, reports The Daily Mail.
Partial blockage results in snoring but with sleep apnoea the airway closes completely and patients can stop breathing for up to ten seconds at a time.
This lack of air causes the muscles to contract and open up the windpipe. The sufferer then takes in a big gulp of air, hence the snore. This cycle may be repeated hundreds of times a night.
The system, developed by the U. S.-based company Apnex, targets the nerve which controls the a muscle in the tongue. It is this muscle that collapses in sleep apnoea. By stimulating the nerve, it stiffens the muscle, stopping this collapse.
"In most patients, it reduced the severity of their sleep apnoea, allowing them to sleep better and feel better," The Daily Mail quoted Dr Peter Eastwood at the West Australian Sleep Disorders Research Institute, as saying.
However, scientists are looking to conduct further trials to really confirm the efficacy of the device.