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Somnomed - losing sleep over Covid-19?

Losing sleep over COVID-19?

As we’re all painfully aware, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted every aspect of our lives in 2020 and continues to do so in 2021. With local and national lockdowns and social distancing guidelines, it has been a year of unprecedented change. Our health, relationships, livelihoods and even our sleep have all suffered.

The news has been full of reports of medical trials and cancer research projects being put on hold as health services across the globe have struggled under the weight of the pandemic. However, behind these attention-grabbing headlines there are countless other medical research projects which have also been postponed or cancelled altogether. The resulting impact on our collective health may not be fully understood for years.

Sleep studies

One such casualty of the pandemic is sleep medicine.

Across the developed world, tiredness as a result of sleep deprivation is becoming so common that the Centers for Disease Control has identified it as a public health epidemic.

Poor sleep has been linked to significant increases in the rates of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and cancer as well as minor ill-health (including colds, flu, gastrointestinal issues).

In more normal times, there can be tens of thousands of individual sleep studies taking place at any one time. These sleep studies are an invaluable source of information for medical professionals, and medical device manufacturers. They are also vital tools to help diagnose serious sleep disorders in patients.

Of course, it goes without saying that sleep studies have also been on hold in 2020, and the impact on people’s health and personal lives should not be underestimated.

What’s more, business travel has been largely halted, so people who used to travel frequently as part of their jobs have been at home all year. It may sound flippant, but for those individuals whose partners snore excessively, lockdown may have been even more of a strain!

Although it is often seen as a comedic affliction, snoring can take a huge toll on the lives of people who suffer with it, as well as their partners and families. It can also be a major symptom of a serious medical condition.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)

OSA is a serious and life-long medical condition that can impact every aspect of a patient’s life. It has been linked to hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, work and driving related accidents and stroke.

It often has a significant impact on quality of life, putting a strain on family relationships and causing problems in the workplace.

What causes OSA?

During sleep, our muscles relax, including those that control the tongue and throat. With OSA, the soft tissue at the back of throat can sag, narrowing and constricting the airway. Symptoms include snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, pauses in breathing or teeth grinding while sleeping.

Treatment options

There are two main types of treatment for OSA:

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)

CPAP machines, used with a variety of breathing masks, are the most widely used treatment for moderate and severe Sleep Apnoea. During sleep, patients wear a mask over the nose (or sometimes nose and mouth), which supplies a flow of pressurised air into the throat. The increased air pressure prevents the airway from collapsing.

Studies show that patients who consistently use their CPAP machines do feel better and experience fewer complications.

Oral appliances

Oral appliances for the treatment of Sleep Apnoea have increased hugely in popularity as they are such an effective first line treatment for many sufferers. Patients also find that these dentist-fitted bespoke devices are more comfortable, convenient and easier to use than CPAP machines.

These appliances are worn in the mouth, like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic appliance, while the patient sleeps. The appliance holds the lower jaw forward just enough to keep the airway open and prevent the tongue and muscles in the upper airway from collapsing and blocking the airway.

SomnoMed have been the leaders in oral appliance therapy since 2004. Their clinically proven SomnoDent® devices bring relief to thousands of OSA-sufferers worldwide.  

With successful treatment, it is possible for people with OSA and their loved ones to live a normal life and sleep well again.

Mohammed’s story

Mohammed was diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea in 2018.

'For the first year after my diagnosis, I had a CPAP machine in the home, but I really struggled with it, due to the anxiety of the mask being on my face all night.

When I saw my Sleep Consultant, I was advised that I should not drive, and my driving license has now been revoked for more than 2 years. I have a family at home, with four children, so having no driving license has really affected our day-to-day lives. Little things like food shopping and trips out are much more difficult.

Sleep Apnoea also affected my work. I used to fall asleep and snore loudly in team meetings, which was obviously very embarrassing in a work situation.

I spoke to my manager about my condition and she was very supportive, allowing me having more breaks when I got really tired.

When I found out about SomnoDent, I had to give it a try. I’ve now had this device since October 2020, and I’ve found that my sleep and my snoring have completely stopped. I don’t get tired during the day, and my life is much improved. I always feel refreshed after having a good night’s sleep.’

For more information on the devices, email Katie Simpson at ksimpson@somnomed.com or visit our Somnomed pages.

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