Sleep Awareness Week Can Save Lives

National Sleep Awareness Week™, which takes place March 5-11, 2012, is an annual public education and awareness campaign to promote the importance of sleep – but only in the USA. It may be something we need here in the UK.

Sleep disorders are common in both men and women. The cumulative effects of sleep loss and sleep disorders represent an under-recognized public health problem and have been associated with a wide range of health consequences including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, stroke, and at-risk behaviours.

Most Common Sleep Disorder

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is the most common of all sleep disorders. Estimates are that 50% of those who suffer from sleep apnoea also have a snoring problem. According to the National Commission of Sleep Disorders Research, roughly 38,000 cardiovascular deaths annually are in some way related to sleep apnoea. The links include high blood pressure, hypertension and stroke.

Sleep apnoea is a disorder that affects breathing during sleep.

Apnoea comes from a Greek word that stands for “want of breath.”

Sleep apnoea is a chronic health problem and is also a progressive condition which means it can potentially worsen over time.

These cessations of breathing can last anywhere from a minimum of ten to thirty seconds and upwards to as much as four hundred per night in those with severe sleep apnoea. Some individual are so plagued by the condition that they are awakened every thirty seconds a night with another apnoea episode.

Important Sleep Apnoea Facts

Sleep apnoea is very common disorder and People that have an untreated case of sleep apnoea face a risk of stroke that is four times as likely as those who are not afflicted. Untreated sleep apnoea sufferers are also three times as likely to have heart disease.

On the average night’s sleep, a sufferer of obstructive sleep apnoea may experience 60 apnoeas per hour. This accounts for an average of 400 apnoeas per night!

People that are afflicted with sleep apnoea face a steep increase in chances of being part of a traffic accident. Due to the sleeplessness and lack of ability to concentrate that are associated with apnoea, sufferers are six times more likely to die in a car accident.

Thousands of deaths occur on an annual basis that relate to cardiovascular problems that in one way or another are connected to sleep apnoea. These problems include high blood pressure, hypertension and stroke, among others.

As these statistics show, sleep apnoea is not a problem to be taken lightly. The risks of mortality faced by those with untreated obstructive sleep apnoea are simply not worth it when you consider all the types of sleep apnoea treatment available. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that they suffer from sleep apnoea unless someone else brings it to their attention.

If you snore get advice now from your doctor because lots of help is readily available. As they correctly say in the United States – Check it out!

As well as saving you from many sleepless nights – it could save your life.

By John Redfern