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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 August, 2003, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
When snoring becomes a nightmare
By Rachel Bliss
Producer of Sleeping Together on BBC Two

Sandra and Shaun Moulding
Sandra Moulding has suffered years of "torture"
We spend 25 years of our lives in bed and 12 of those lying next to someone else but, for Shaun and Sandra Moulding, sleeping together was not a bed of roses.

Shaun used to be a snorer of pneumatic proportions.

His wife of 12 years, Sandra, complained that it was like "sleeping next to a pig".

"It only takes him seconds to go to sleep and within seconds he's snoring. I love him to bits but I cannot sleep with that noise.

"It feels like I'm being punished for something; it just feels like torture."

Most nights they started off in bed together, but then Shaun's grunts and groans become too much for Sandra, and he was elbowed out of their warm bed and onto the sofa in the sitting room with only the cat for company.

'Single parent'

Shaun's sleep habits were not just disturbing the couple at night. His condition also took its toll during the day.

Something must be done, otherwise we will end up splitting up
Sandra Moulding
He nodded off at his mother-in-law's, over a pint at the pub, even at the dinner table.

He has got no energy to do anything with their five children anymore.

Sandra did not even trust him to drive them anywhere in case he falls asleep behind the wheel.

She admitted that something must be done, or the marriage could be in danger.

Seeking a cure

In desperation, Shaun visited a sleep clinic at Oxford's Churchill Hospital.

The C-PAP mask aids sleeping
The mask forces air into Shaun's windpipe to help him breathe
His sleep was monitored overnight and he was diagnosed with sleep apnoea, a condition which means he stops breathing in his sleep, as much as up to 10 times a minute.

The sleep apnoea had been causing his snoring and his day time exhaustion.

Shaun was fitted with a face mask to gently feed him air as he sleeps.

The C-PAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) mask works by forcing air into the patient's windpipe throughout the night, overcoming the body's tendency to stop breathing.

Shaun returned home with the mask, excited and anxious, and was keen to convince a doubtful Sandra of the cure.

New energy

From the first night the face mask was a success: Shaun sleeps in bed with Sandra through the night and even woke up late for work.

I only expected him to be able to sleep all night and stay awake all day... and that has changed
Sandra Moulding
After years of sleeping apart, Shaun and Sandra could finally enjoy quiet nights together again.

Shaun now has the energy to spend time with the kids; he even takes them trick or treating and organises a firework display.

Sandra is finally convinced.

"I didn't expect miracles. I only expected him to be able to sleep all night and stay awake all day. That's all I've ever asked, and that has changed."

Sleeping Together will be broadcast at 21:00 BST on Wednesday, 20 August, on BBC Two.


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