Snoring & sleep apnoea

Middle aged man snoring

Obstructive sleep apnoea(the most common form of sleep apnoea) is a very common under recognised condition effecting 7-15% of the population. It has effects our alertness and impacts on our productivity and quality of life.

It is a condition where your airway is blocked during your sleep, without your knowledge. This can result in a loud snore with periods where you temporarily stop breathing, called apnoea. Each period of apnoea results in sleep fragmentation, as we come out of deep sleep each time this occurs in order to reopen our airway. This results in a decline in sleep quality and tiredness during the day.

Sleep apnoea, unlike other sleep disorders such as insomnia, is often not obvious to those who suffer it, since it may not wake you up at night. It often presents to doctors with symptoms such as snoring, periods of no breathing during sleep (apnoea, usually noticed by someone else) and excessive daytime sleepiness. These symptoms are highly suggestive of a problem especially when periods of apnoea are noticed by others.

Risk factors can contribute to obstruction, and these include excess weight, alcohol consumption before sleep and certain physical features which may lend themselves to blockage.

Sleep apnoea can also be caused by problems centrally (central sleep apnoea), where the pauses in breathing manifest due to a problem in the nervous system, rather than a physical blockage.

Sleep apnoea can impact general wellbeing via the excessive sleepiness you may experience and via cardiac, circulatory and mental health complications. If you believe you may have sleep apnoea an appointment with our staff may be beneficial for you. We encourage you to take a questionnaire about your symptoms before seeking an appointment, as this can help quantify the severity of any symptoms you may be experiencing, and can help us advise you on what your next step should be.

Diagram showing the effect snoring has on breathing

Diagram showing the effect snoring has on breathing

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