Sleep Apnoea

Sleep Apnoea

About 10% of the adult population in the world is suffering from sleep apnoea. About 90% of them have not been diagnosed.*

What is Sleep Apnoea?

Apnoea literally means "no breath" or "stopping breathing". Sleep Apnoea only occurs during sleep as it is a lack of muscle tone in your upper airway that causes the airway to collapse. During the day we have sufficent muscle tone to keep our airway open allowing us to breathe normally. 

There are three types of Sleep Apnoea:

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Hypopnoea Syndrome (OSAHS): is when the upper airway becomes unstable and collapses during sleep, resulting in episodes of markedly reduced (hypopnoea) or absent (apnoea) airflow at the nose/mouth. When you experience an episode of apnoea during sleep your brain will automatically wake you up, usually with a very loud snore or snort, in order to breathe again. People with OSA will experience these wakening episodes many times during the night and consequently feel very sleepy during the day: they have an airway that is more likely to collapse than normal. Other reasons for an obstruction can be a large tongue, obesity or weak muscles in your airway.

Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA): people with Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA) have a disorder with their central nervous system. The breathing centre in the brain fails to trigger breathing or the signal to inhale is not communicated properly to the rest of the body.

Mixed Sleep Aponea:  is a combination of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) and Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA). While mixed sleep apnoea is more common than CSA, it is less typical than OSA.


  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Snoring or episodes of apnoea during sleep
  • Urge to move legs at rest or uncomfortable feeling in the legs at night
  • Wake up tired and headache in the morning
  • Increased forgetfulness
  • Often interrupted by pauses and gasps
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness, e.g., falling asleep at work, whilst driving, during conversation or when watching TV (this should not be confused with excessive tiredness with which we all suffer from time to time)
  • Irritability /  short temper
  • Changes in mood or behaviour
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Decreased interest in sex


Patients who make lifestyle changes, for example by losing weight, can improve their overall health but may still need treatment. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for adults with moderate or severe symptomatic obstructive sleep apnoea hypopnoea
syndrome (OSAHS).

If your GP suspects that you have sleep apnoea, they can refer you to our sleep specialists where a sleep study will be conducted to confirm the diagnosis. The sleep study may be done here at Rivers Hospital or you may be given a test kit to use in your own home. 

We have a group of specialists who run our Sleep Clinic and can carry out the tests for a diagnosis, make recommendations for treatment and provide access to CPAP machines to control the condition if required. If diagnosed early, some oral devices can be used to prevent the condition progressing, therefore CPAP may not always be necessary.

Sleep Apnoea Clinic initial assessment (£250) - more information needed on what the patient will experience / get at this initial assessment 

Depending on the outcome of your intial assessment and the treatment options which are recommended we can then provided a diagnostic and treatment package.

Sleep Apnoea Clinic diagnostic package (£600) - more information needed on what this entails for the patient (does this include the use of the machine?)

Read one of our recent patients and his families journey through his Sleep Apnoea testing, diagnosis and treatment.

Next steps for you

  • Your GP can refer you to a sleep specialist - can they self refer?
  • We can arrange for you to see a leading specialist within 72 hours or at a time to suit you.
  • Meet with a specialist to discuss your tests and treatments (if necessary)
  • Book your test at a time to suit you (or is it only certain clinic times?)

To book an appointment please call 01279 212 952

*Source : 

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