By Vanessa Chalmers Health Reporter For Mailonline
Published: 23:30 GMT, 2 December 2019 | Updated: 23:33 GMT, 2 December 2019
A face mask worn during night-time could help millions of patients with mild sleep apnoea, scientists claim.
The common condition is caused by the airways narrowing during sleep, which can lead to snoring and restricted breathing.
NHS doctors are already able to dish out the masks - called CPAP machine pumps - to patients with moderate to severe apnoea.
However, Imperial College London researchers have now proven the gadgets could help patients with mild cases.
The mask attaches to a machine which gently pumps air into the mouth or nose as patients sleep, keeping the airways open.
Results of a trial of 200 patients with mild apnoea showed the masks helped curb extreme fatigue - a common complaint of the condition.
A night-time face masks to tackle snoring can help millions of patients with mild sleep apnoea, scientists claim. The mask is part of a CPAP machine which pumps air into the nose or mouth to keep the airways open (stock picture of the technology)
Eleven NHS sleep centres across the UK, including the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, were involved in the study.
Some 115 patients were asked to use the CPAP for three months, while 118 received standard care for mild sleep apnoea.
This includes advice on improving sleep and avoiding anything that can exacerbate the condition, such as drinking alcohol before bed or smoking.
Patients who used the CPAP machine had an improvement of 10 points on a vitality scale, compared to those who received standard care.
Sleep apnoea is when your breathing stops and starts while you sleep. The most common type is called obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
Symptoms of sleep apnoea mainly happen during sleep. They include:breathing stopping and starting making gasping, snorting or choking noises waking up a lot loud snoring
During the day, symptoms include:feeling very tired finding it hard to concentrate having mood swings having a headache in the morning
People with moderate or severe apnoea may need to use a CPAP machine which is given for free on the NHS.
A CPAP machine gently pumps air into a mask worn over the mouth or nose during sleep.
Less common treatments for sleep apnoea include a gum shield-like device that holds your airways open while you sleep or surgery to help your breathing, such as removing large tonsils.
It's recommended people with