The stress of living under lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic is affecting our usual sleep patterns, the National Sleep Foundation has reported. Are you sleepy during the day, and unable to sleep or are wakeful during the night? This could just be due to the stress that lockdown is causing – or it could be a sign of an underlying sleep disorder.
If you suffer from a sleep disorder you may be familiar with one of these problems:
- it consistently takes you more than half an hour to fall asleep at night
- you feel tired during the day even after you have had 7-8 hours of sleep
- you need a nap during the day to stay awake
- you snore at night
- you have a chronic health condition that keeps you awake at night
At The ENT Clinic, we treat many patients who present with excessive snoring associated with tiredness during the day. This can be an indication of obstructive sleep apnoea, one of the more common sleep disorders.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea?
Sleep apnoea is when the breathing passages collapse or become partially blocked during sleep. This means not enough air is flowing to the lungs to get oxygen to the blood. As oxygen levels drop, the brain sends a message to wake you up to start breathing again. These constant interruptions during sleep affect the quality of your sleep.
Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea include:
- feeling excessively tired during the day
- difficulty concentrating during the day (at work, driving or watching TV)
If OSA is suspected, a specialist will request a Sleep Study. The most basic form of sleep study monitors the heart rate and oxygen saturation. If after analysis of the study, OSA is diagnosed, then you will be advised on the best course of treatment.
The treatment depends on the severity of the OSA and the underlying cause. For many people simple measures will be sufficient to treat the condition. These include weight loss and reduction of alcohol intake.
If associated with nasal symptoms, treatment of the underlying nose condition will help. Other patients may have large tonsils or adenoids which might require surgery. Some patients benefit from wearing a gum shield at night to move their jaw forward.
Patients with moderate or severe OSA may require a CPAP machine. This is a mask worn at night which delivers oxygen under positive pressure, thus keeping the airways open.
If you think you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea, we can help. Book an appointment to see Paul Kirkland, who can assess your symptoms to decide whether a sleep study is required and to discuss treatment options. Contact us via the usual channels, through our website contact form https://www.theentclinic.co.uk/contact/ or by calling 07925 1690934
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