Snoring invention promises millions a good night's sleep.
An invention by a Welsh dental technician promises to transform the sleeping experiences of at least 30 million people. Paul Cattell is the inventor of the Snorekil - a small device which helps eliminate the scourge of snoring. About 30 million people in the UK - almost half the population - have their night's sleep disrupted by snoring, according to the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association.
Mr Cattell is on a mission - for which he is already winning awards - to improve the quality of a night's sleep had by these individuals and their partners.
The Snorekil is a device made from soft vinyl which, when warmed in hot water, moulds itself comfortably around the teeth of the snorer.
It can be adjusted to stop the lower jaw sagging backwards in sleep, blocking the free movement of oxygen and leading to the familiar, repetitive, rasping noise of snoring.
Mr Cattell contacted Welsh companies to provide the tooling and injection moulding to create the Snorekil. He then set up a business, Sleepworks, with his wife, Marie, to bring the device to market.
With the help of the Wales Innovators Network, they took the Snorekil to the Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions - the world's biggest event of its kind - and came away with a bronze medal in the health section. The Snorekil then won a silver medal at the British Invention Show in London in October.
Snorekils are now being tested by the medical profession, including at the outpatients' clinic of Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor.
Orders are also being placed on their www.snorekil.com website
In addition, Sleepworks is in talks with a national distributor to the dental industry.
Mr Cattell said, 'Snoring and apnoea can cause serious problems for many people who become desperate for a good night's rest. It can affect performance and judgement during the day and sufferers need to be particularly careful if they are driving or operating machinery. After a lot of research, our objective was to make a non-invasive, adjustable, comfortable, effective and affordable over-the-counter device. For those who need a custom-made device, the Snorekil can also be used by dentists as a template diagnostic tool to help get the final fit right.'
Sleepworks is receiving development advice from Entrepreneur Action under the Welsh Assembly Government's General Support for Business programme.
Mr Cattell said, 'We have had tremendous help from the Welsh Assembly Government in setting up the business, including putting us in touch with manufacturers, website designers and enabling us to exhibit the Snorekil in Geneva.'
Anti-snoring products and treatments have become a lucrative sector of the healthcare industry.
Devices range from sprays, nasal strips, dilators and chin straps to gumshield-like mouth appliances and oxygen masks.
Mr Cattell worked as a dental technician for 35 years, and was living in Canada when he began his first experiments with 'mandibular advancement devices', which work by holding the sleeper's lower jaw in a position to help keep airways open.