12 March 2021

Making home testing for sleep disorders possible

Donations to our sleep fund have helped purchase home testing kits for patients being treated for disorders like sleep apnoea.

When you sleep, your muscles relax. In someone with sleep apnoea, it can cause their airways to collapse, making it difficult to breathe.

If you have sleep apnoea, your throat closes while you sleep and you stop breathing for a time. It’s considered an apnoea if you stop breathing for 10 seconds or more.

In severe sleep apnoea, this can happen as many as 100 times per hour, disrupting sleep and causing excessive daytime sleepiness. It can impact people’s relationships and ability to work. They may not be able to drive safely and it could result in long-term health problems.

Dr Dennison, a respiratory consultant, and his team requested help from Southampton Hospitals Charity to purchase specialist equipment that allows sleep studies to be done in patients’ homes.

The equipment means that patients who need to be diagnosed don’t have to come into the hospital for an overnight stay. They can borrow the equipment and sleep at home where they aren’t disturbed by the noise and bustle of a busy hospital.

The equipment became more urgent during the pandemic.

We were starting to struggle because we could no longer do inpatient studies and waiting times kept getting longer”, Dr Dennison explains.

The team were able to purchase five machines at the start of the year, which means that diagnostic tests can now be done at home.

We’re pleased to be able to offer home testing for sleep apnoea. Patients respond well to treatment for this condition, and it makes a huge difference to their lives: keeping them safer on the roads, improving their work lives, relationships and overall wellbeing.

Thank you to the donors who helped make these purchases possible.”

Dr Dennison’s top tips for getting a good night’s sleep

  1. Get into a routine

    The most common cause of tiredness is our work hard, play hard lifestyle. It’s important to give yourself enough time to sleep and to form good habits. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help.

  2. Choose a healthy lifestyle

    Avoid caffeine and alcohol late at night. While it can be helpful in falling asleep, it can impact sleep quality. We also know that smoking can worsen conditions like sleep apnoea. Making healthy lifestyle choices could have a positive impact on your sleep quality.

  3. Maintain a healthy BMI

    Milder sleep apnoea can be improved or resolved in people with a high BMI by losing weight. A healthy BMI can also reduce snoring; improve sleep quality and daytime energy levels.

  4. Don’t ignore problems

    If you suspect that you may have sleep apnoea, getting it accessed is vital. If you are excessively tired during the day, or your partner has noticed that you stop breathing during the night, speak to your GP.

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