How many of us have known the misery of being kept awake by a snoring partner? Or have been the guilty party, rudely awakened by the irate elbow of a partner who has watched their good night’s sleep disappear in the cacophony of your snores?
The upshot, of course, can be tired and irritable people feeling alternately guilty or resentful about the situation and a consequent lack of domestic harmony.
So what exactly is snoring? Essentially, it occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe. Nearly everyone snores now and then, but for some people it can be a chronic problem. Sometimes it may also indicate a serious health condition – and not only because your partner might have sharp elbows!
Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol close to bedtime or sleeping on your side, can help stop snoring. In addition, medical devices and surgery are available that may reduce disruptive snoring. However, these aren't suitable or necessary for everyone who snores.
‘Cures’ for snoring have been sought for years. Some people swear by affixing adhesive strips to their nose to improve airflow, for instance. Others go so far as to attach masks or other apparatus to solve the problem.
This month’s Challenge, then, is to come up with a device that prevents snoring without causing discomfort or interrupting sleep, while being as physically non-invasive as possible.
As ever, we have a specific idea in mind and it uses modern technology to address the problem while causing minimal discomfort to the user.
However, we would like to see what you can come up with instead. We look forward to finding out.