Snorers to be silenced at last with nasal strip

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The Independent Online
The latest fashion to sweep the sporting world - nasal strips that aid breathing - may have a key part to play in solving the age-old problem of snoring.

The strips, used by the likes of Will Carling and the England rugby team, open the nostrils and allow increased air flow through the nose.

Now they could become part of the night attire of some of the world's 336 million snorers. In Britain alone, one in three men and one in ten women snore.

The strips have just been adopted by British Airways to stop passengers in its business and first class seats keeping each other - and the cabin crews - awake.

BA spokeswoman Heather Harris said the problem had become apparent when the airline recently introduced beds in first class and cradle seats in business class. "People say it's just like being in bed at home - and they tend to snore," she said. And in-flight deep sleep is more likely to lead to snoring as dehydration "bungs up" the nose.

The flesh-coloured adhesive strips normally cost pounds 6 for 10 in the shops. They will be handed out on Monday on selected BA routes. First to try them will be those on the overnight New York to London flight.

If successful the strips could bring some much needed nocturnal peace and quiet not just for airline passengers but for millions. Snoring has often been the cause of great domestic strife, and has been a staple complaint for agony aunts throughout the ages. At 90 decibels, a loud snorer makes as much noise as a passing underground train.

Last year, 22-year-old Deborah Clelland went one better than a letter to the problem page. On the morning of her wedding to chef Bob Gingell, she told him the marriage would be cancelled if he did not agree to an operation to stop his snoring. In 45 minutes, his tonsils were removed, his windpipe was widened, his snoring was cured and his wedding was assured. The operation is becoming more common, but side effects mean that drinking beer and fizzy drinks gets up your nose in more ways than one.

If Miss Clelland was unwilling to turn a deaf ear, legendary Wild West gunfighter John Wesley Harding was even less tolerant. One minute, a man lay snoring in the room next to Harding. The next, the man lay dead, eliminated by the fastest draw in town. Even politicians are not immune. Last year, David Ashby MP admitted in court during his ill-fated libel action that a fellow MP had complained about his snoring during a foreign trip.

The latest move by British Airways was welcomed by the British Snoring & Sleep Atnoea Association. Allen Davey, the association's director, said: "These strips do help. Snoring is caused by a lot of different things but I think they have a fair chance of success."

However, it may not all be good news: although the strips are designed to avoid nasal stuffiness, the main cause of snoring is obesity - and excessive alcohol consumption doesn't help either.