letters from Ray | Health technologies to support sleep apnea and snoring

June 1, 2015

credit | Airing

Dear readers,

Obstructive sleep apnea is a very common sleep disorder caused by periodic obstruction of the upper airway. A sleep apnea is literally a pause in breathing. It can happen many times each hour while the individual is asleep. It leads to reduced oxygen saturation and is a risk factor for heart disease.

Most sufferers are unaware that they have this syndrome. It is often first noticed by the person’s sleep partner — 45 percent of the population snore while they sleep, 25 percent snore on a regular basis. Of these habitual snorers, one third of men and one fifth of women have obstructive sleep apnea.

The most common treatment is continuous positive airway pressure, called CPAP. The person wears a mask — with a tube coming out that goes to an external machine — that covers their mouth and nose. The device forces air into the person’s lungs when they are breathing in. This forces the throat tissues to remain open. It is an effective treatment but the person looks like a fighter pilot. The experience of using CPAP can be claustrophobic.

The company Airing is developing a breakthrough device by the same name. It is a micro CPAP device that is simply inserted in the nose. It is the world’s first maskless, hoseless, and cordless CPAP device. It is still being perfected and will be subject to FDA approval. However, I thought that sleep apnea sufferers would find this development of great interest. More information below.

Ray Kurzweil

credit | Airing

related reading:
Airing | main
Airing | YouTube channel
Airing | Vimeo channel 

related viewing from Airing:

Airing | About Airing’s technology featuring inventor Stephen Marsh. This video explains the dynamics of sleep apnea, and then describes in detail how Airing’s new micro-blower technology and nose bud design treats sleep apnea.

Airing | The first hoseless, maskless, cordless micro-CPAP device.

Dear Ray,

I just read in Der Spiegel about all the technology going on in Silicon Valley, and the brains of thinkers there.

Now I lay in bed beside a snoring beloved person, my husband, and I think about the possibility to invent a cushion or some technology that can interrupt snoring — but in a comfortable way.

Snoring is a serious health problem. Normally I give him a slight vibration with my hand, but this awakens me.

I heard that millions of people have this snoring health concern. Health care inventions for snoring would be a real possibility to make the world, and our slumber time, a better and more silent place!

I would be happy to hear from you about what technologies might help. Thank you for your advice.

— Christiane

Dear Christiane,

A snoring partner can be a serious problem. First of all, his snoring may be an indication of sleep apnea, which can promote heart disease. He should consult a physician about that.

In the US, one option is a dental device worn at night that pushes the lower jaw forward and prevents sleep apnea and snoring.

There is also a device called CPAP which is somewhat cumbersome but newer models are more comfortable. There are also surgical solutions.

Another approach is for your husband to not sleep on his back. Sleeping on your side can reduce snoring and apnea.

One approach is to sew a tennis ball in the back of his pajama top which would prevent him from sleeping on his back if he tends to sleep on his back without being aware of it.

Yet another approach is for you to wear noise cancelling ear buds. I recommend Bose Quiet Comfort Model 20.

These are ear buds that fit in your ear. I use them at night to block out noise. I find that I can sleep with them in my ears comfortable. You might need to adjust the position of your bed pillow so it does not press against the earbuds in your ears. I hope this is helpful, good luck.

— Ray Kurzweil

related reading:
Bose | acoustic noise cancelling headphones

related reading:
The Huffington Post | Obstructive sleep apnea severity linked with death risk
Scientific American | Why do people snore?
Futurity | Sonar app listens for signs of sleep apnea

related diagram of how snoring occurs:

related viewing:

Discovery | Snoring is more than just an irritating condition, it’s a symptom of something more deadly, sleep apnea.

related reading:
Discovery | main
Discovery | news

Discovery | YouTube channel: main
Discovery | YouTube channel: news