LONDON — Dr. Mike Dilkes, a renowned sleep expert and ear, nose, throat, and surgeon, suggests that creating a “stark and bare” bedroom environment can significantly improve sleep quality. The 59-year-old specialist, who treats snoring and sleep apnea, advises overhauling one’s “sleep hygiene” by using the bedroom exclusively for sleep and removing unnecessary distractions to enhance the overall sleep experience.
Dr. Dilkes, a former National Health Service (NHS) consultant from South London who now practices privately, emphasizes the importance of a minimalistic bedroom.
“If you go to bed in a room with TVs and coffee machines and other distractions, then you just don’t sleep as well as if your bedroom is stark, bare and just has a bed.”
He also underscores the value of not spending excessive time in the bedroom during waking hours.
“I’ve found that not living half your life in there and only using it for sleeping can be a real help,” the doctor explains in a statement, according to SWNS.
Before resorting to surgery or other remedies for snoring, which can cost thousands of dollars, Dr. Dilkes advises trying more cost-effective solutions. These include adjusting one’s sleep posture, using sleep tracking apps, and making lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and moderating alcohol consumption.
“The most common cause of snoring is posture and how we sleep in bed. If you sleep on your back, almost every human being will snore. Sleeping on your side helps. You may well need to see a specialist, but it’s an easy first step and it’s free of charge,” Dilkes elaborates on the impact of sleep posture.
To maintain a side-sleeping position, Dr. Dilkes suggests sewing a tennis ball into a pocket or using postural sensors. He also encourages the use of sleep tracking apps to monitor snoring patterns, as they provide positive reinforcement when snoring scores decrease over time.
“Lifestyle choices like weight loss and not drinking heavily can also make a major difference. I always say to my patients, ‘Before you come and see me, just try that because it could save you a lot of money’.”
In cases where surgery is necessary, Dr. Dilkes specializes in using lasers for cost-effective procedures that treat anatomical issues contributing to snoring, such as large tonsils or a large soft palate. However, he reiterates that surgery should only be considered if more affordable solutions fail to rectify the problem or if the patient cannot commit to them.
Dr. Dilkes addresses several misconceptions about snoring, emphasizing that it can affect anyone, regardless of gender, and that there are viable treatments for snoring. He discusses non-invasive methods, such as throat sprays, which may be partially effective in reducing snoring volume, but he does not recommend them as a long-term solution. Dr. Dilkes also warns of the serious consequences snoring can have on relationships.
“Snoring can split up long-term relationships, and that’s something I don’t think people realize – marriages break down because of snoring.”
By debunking common misconceptions and providing practical advice, Dr. Dilkes aims to help individuals achieve better sleep and improve their overall quality of life. His recommendations on creating a minimalistic bedroom environment, making lifestyle changes, and exploring non-invasive treatments before considering surgery can serve as a helpful guide for those struggling with snoring or sleep apnea. Through these suggestions, Dr. Dilkes hopes to empower people to take control of their sleep health and enjoy the numerous benefits that come with a good night’s sleep.
Dr. Dilkes’s tips to help with snoring:
- Exclusively use your bedroom for sleep
- Use a tennis ball sewed into a breast pocket to stay sleeping on your side
- Postural sensors
- Snore scoring apps
- Weight loss
- Not drinking heavily
- Mandibular advancement device
- Laser surgery on soft palate or tonsils
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South West News Service writer Tim Sigsworth contributed to this report.