If you or your partner snore, then the words:
“TURN OVER! – You’re Snoring…“
May be all too familiar!
Of course, the premise here is that the snorer will stop snoring in a different position (off their back most probably) and the offended, sleep disrupted partner, can then try to go back to sleep…
Most people will have heard of ways to help ‘train’ the snorer to get off their back (known as ‘Positional therapy’) including perhaps a tight fitting T-shirt with a tennis ball sewn into the back of it. The idea being to make it uncomfortable to sleep this way (known as ‘supine’).
Getting a bit more serious
These approaches then develop slightly to include foam tubing or pillows attached to the offending snorer’s back. All these methods can help, but any change in sleep position throughout the night and over the course of time isn’t documented, and perhaps its not a lifelong solution… so who knows what’s happening?
Certainly, the snorer’s partner may appreciate some noise reduction, but when they themselves are asleep – what’s going on?
Enter the new high-tech solutions and some more jargon (or when you know this device ‘buzz’ words) to explain:
- Vibrotactile feedback: Essentially this means that when the device detects that the snorer is on their back it vibrates, just enough to encourage the snorer to turn over. You may know this, perhaps on your mobile/cellphone, as ‘Haptic feedback’.
- Supine dependency: This is when the snorer either only snores when sleeping on their back, or that sleep apnoea is worsened when sleeping this way.
There are currently two competitors in this space and I was lucky enough to have the chance to try the NightShift device. Point to note here; I don’t get paid for my thoughts and ramblings or get some other kickback.
Before I continue, its important to note that the NightShift device is a prescription medical device and that snoring may be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
If you are concerned about OSA you should consult your Doctor.
Now we have that out of the way, lets take a look at this thing:
Here’s a shot, I grabbed from the company leaflet:
Here it is on my hand (to give you some idea of scale).
My personal experience
I was impressed with the packaging and pleased to see how small the device was. Hmmm. The strap around the neck looks like it will throttle me – BUT – actually it contains two magnets to separate and release, right under my Adams apple. So if my wife gets annoyed with me… it separates. The straps are actually comfortable, it just feels a bit strange the first few nights.
Note: The strap has loops (the manufacturer calls them retention bands) to slip the excess through. I mistakenly thought that mine had these loops missing, but they were at the end of the straps, over the magnets…
See the picture below (yes, its a bit small and hard to make out [its the ‘lump’ at the end] but it will become clearer in context below):
You have to slide the loops along the strap, to limit the amount it can move.
See picture below:
After getting the straps right, I turned it on. Mistake! Charge it first by plugging it into your computer with the micro USB lead that it comes with. The next thing to do (which again I didnt do the first night) is to head over to the manufacturer’s website (with the Nightshift device plugged in to your computer) and correct the time and date: www.nightshifttherapy.com
You need to have a current version of Java running on your PC for this to work.
So, did it work for me?
Yes. Put it this way, I use it every night. I also use an oral appliance ‘mouthpiece’ and together the Nightshift controls my snoring and I feel better rested in the morning. However, the first few nights of using it, I actually felt worse on waking as the device was making me turn over sleep on my side. (Not my wife screaming “Turn over! You’re snoring….”)
This is to be expected I guess. Now after a few weeks of using it, it must be changing my behaviour.
When I had it charged it lasted in excess of 3 nights. Its neat how when you turn it on, it vibrates to indicate how many nights of use it can provide. I also like the delay in starting the vibrations for 15 minutes, so you can get to sleep before it starts working.
Have a look at the graph below and I will attempt to explain what they mean. This ‘3 day graph’ shows that my attempts to sleep ‘supine’ (on my back) have decreased considerably. I have deliberately spaced the nights chosen to give some idea of change.
There is the capability to record and display upto 12 months data, which I anticipate when I have been using it for some time, will prove valuable as there will be more data to work with. Its interesting to see that it records how much I was snoring too…
According to the manufacturer 83% of participants had a 50% reduction in AHI (apnoea hypopnea index), 90% had > 35% reduction in AHI. The mean reduction across all participants was 69% and the median reduction was 79%.1
I think this is a fascinating area with real potential to manage sleep related breathing disorders. Combining an oral appliance with positional therapy appears to manage snoring and for those with supine dependent, mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnoea – reduce the incidence of apneic episodes. Its not clear to me, but I would imagine that it would also reduce the length of the apnoeaic episode too.
Finally, a question occurred to me when thinking about this blog and discussing my experience with the supplier. Is the device really ‘training’ me not to sleep on my back – or is it that if I stopped using it after a period of training that I would ‘forget’ and resume supine sleep?
Just remains for me to add my thanks to Advanced Brain Monitoring and GDS Medtech for letting me try this product and review it.
Night Shift is CE marked and has now gained FDA clearance (3rd June 2014).
Here’s a user instruction video placed on YouTube that the manufacturer has created. I make no representations as to how useful or valid it is.
Video of the NightShift device
References and Related
The NightShift research paper, “Capability of a neck worn device to measure sleep/wake, airway position, and differentiate benign snoring from obstructive sleep apnea”, published in the Springer Journal in Feb 2015 http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10877-014-9569-3
NightShift crowdfunding page: http://www.indiegogo.com/project/preview/29da0980