An irritant for partners snoring for some people may be an indicator of underlying health problems.

One third of men under thirty are snorers and this figure doubles for males over sixty. It is estimated that ten per cent of women snore.

Snoring often means a sleepless night for the other partner but it can also lead to marriage breakups.

Every year, around one hundred patients check in to the sleep laboratory at Saint Vincent’s Hospital where their brain waves, eye movement, oxygen levels and heart rhythm are monitored.

They book in for the night and their sleeping patterns are scrutinised.

While snoring itself is not a health problem, it can be an indicator of a more serious problem. Some heavy snorers suffer from sleep apnea where they actually stop breathing during sleep. This can lead to cardiac or blood clot problems. Sufferers of sleep apnea usually wake up tired as a result of disrupted sleep.

Walter McNicholas an expert in respiratory sleep disorders explains that sufferers of sleep apnea can find themselves very sleepy during day time.Treatment may include medication, weight loss and for more serious cases, a mask can be worn.  

There is no cure for snoring apart from sewing a tennis ball into the snorer’s pyjamas to keep him on his side.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 11 February 1991. The reporter is George Devlin.