Sleep Apnoea & Snoring

According the 2016 Sleep Health Survey of Australia, poor quality or inadequate sleep is affecting up to 45% of Australian adults. 8% are diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea and 24% of men and 17% of women reported frequent loud snoring (each of these conditions fall into the disease category of Sleep Disordered Breathing - SDB). The survey also suggested that undiagnosed Sleep Apnoea is common. 20% reported suffering from Insomnia and 18% with Restless Leg Syndrome.

Sleep Disorders and Health Conditions

The US National Sleep Foundation report that sleep disorders, including sleep apnoea, are linked to many common health conditions including Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease and Restless Leg Syndrome.

The Foundation also reports that Sleep Disordered Breathing is linked to increased risk of epileptic seizures.  According to Dr. Victor Rosenfeld, Medical Director of the South Coast Sleep Centre USA, in cases of Fibromyalgia at his clinic there is a tenfold increase in Sleep Disordered Breathing. 

Sleep Disordered Breathing

Sleep Clinics around the country are increasingly diagnosing Australians of all ages with some form of SDB.

It is important to realize that certain subgroups within the population are also at greater risk of Sleep Disordered Breathing with risk factors including males, age, excessive weight and those with a family history. With a diagnosis of SDB these sufferers may be left with the impression that they only have a breathing problem when they fall asleep.

However, is this always the case? Could it be that many of those diagnosed with SDB actually have a breathing disorder whilst awake also?

The Real Problem

There is growing clinical and research evidence that many diagnosed with SDB actually have a 24/7 breathing disorder. One then needs to ask, is the use of a CPAP or oral device such as a mandibular splints adequately addressing the problem for many sufferers?

By definition Sleep Disordered Breathing is stating that the problem only exists when the patient is asleep, yet breathing is an autonomic function that occurs both when awake and when asleep.

The Solution

While certain physiological changes do occur once asleep, day time breathing habits also have some association with breathing once asleep? 

We routinely find in our bio-feedback analysis of diagnosed Sleep Disordered Breathing patients that they also have a chronic breathing disorder when awake. In such cases the breathing pattern can be returned to a functional habit often resulting in improved sleep outcomes.

Article by Dean O’Rourke, Breathing Therapist at ATUNE Health Centres