Whether the information is coming from data collected during a sleep study or through observation from a bed partner, it is common to hear that snoring and the frequency of sleep apnoea worse when people are sleeping on their back.
The simple explanation for this is gravity. When people are on their backs, gravity has its effect on the mandible (jaw) making the tongue more susceptible to blocking the airway onto the soft pallet.
There are a few solutions used at the moment to keep people off their backs. These include, taping a tennis ball to a sleeping shirt, using a bumper belt to prevent people rolling over, or the partner favourite, a jab in the ribs.
The Night Shift Sleep Positioner device is now a solution in Australia. The device is worn like a collar around the neck and vibrates once you are lying supine.
The vibrations are gentle and increase in intensity if you have not rolled over in a reasonable time.
The other great thing about Night Shift is that the results are measurable. The first night you wear nightshift it won’t vibrate. It will record however, how often you are sleeping in what position, sleep vs wake and also the snoring decibel level.
From the second night onwards, the NightShift will start vibrating. The device will continue to record data so you are able to compare your initial nights sleep vs the nights where the vibrational therapy is in action.
Although the AHI (level of sleep apnoea) is not recorded directly by the device, it is assumed, through research of thousands of sleep studies, that sleeping off your back will improve your sleep apnoea.
In Australia, using Night Shift positional therapy is used both as a stand alone therapy, or as an aid for those who sue CPAP or a MAS. Occasionally if patients are using CPAP or MAS, the sleep apnoea is still not completely controlled when sleeping supine. NightShift assist in these situations.
Traditionally an issue with positional therapy was long term compliance. Now Night Shift has been out for an extended period there is data now to support that it is in fact being used as a long term therapy.