What is Sleep Apnoea?

Sleep Apnoea
Sleep Apnea


Sleep Apnoea, or Sleep Apnea, is a fairly common condition which means your breathing will stop and start during sleep. This has an adverse effect on the quality of your sleep, leave you feeling tired despite having had a long night’s sleep, and if left untreated can lead to severe sleep deprivation

There are two types of Sleep Apnoea:

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, or OSA. This is the most common form of sleep apnoea and occurs when there is a blockage in your airway, usually as a result of a collapse in the soft tissue at the back of your throat.

Central Sleep Apnoea. Less common than OSA, central sleep apnoea occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles in the respiratory system to breathe.

According to the the Sleep Apnoea Trust Association, it is estimated that around 3.9 million people in the UK suffer from OSA. This accounts for up to 13% of adult men between the ages of 30 and 70, and 6% of women in the same age range.

How can I tell if I have Sleep Apnoea? What are the Symptoms?

There are multiple symptoms associated with having sleep apnoea. These include loud snoring, frequently waking up during the night, experiencing disturbed breathing, and making choking or spluttering noises while you sleep.

You might also experience some symptoms outside of sleep, such as frequently waking up with a headache or spending much of your day feeling tired and fatigued. This can also lead to having trouble concentrating during the day, and experiencing frequent mood swings.

Who is most at risk?

While anyone has the potential to develop sleep apnoea, it tends to be more common in certain groups. These include males, those over 40 years old, and people who are overweight.

Should I seek medical help for Sleep Apnoea?

Absolutely. There are treatments available to help people deal with the condition and get back to experiencing undisturbed, restorative sleep.

The NHS website encourages you to see your GP if you experience the following main symptoms of sleep apnoea:

  • Your breathing stops and starts while you sleep.
  • You make choking sounds while you sleep.
  • You always feel very tired during the day.

They also recommend that if someone else has witnessed your symptoms, such as a partner, then it would be helpful to bring them with you to your consultation. They will be able to provide a clear picture of the disturbance you’ve been experiencing in your sleep.

If your GP thinks you might be suffering from sleep apnoea, they will refer you to a specialist clinic for testing and diagnosis.

What can I do to counter Sleep Apnoea?

There are 2 main things you can do to combat sleep apnoea:

  1. Lose some weight if you are overweight. It might seem obvious but maintaining a healthy weight can have a transformative impact on the quality of your sleep, and reduces the risks of troublesome sleep apnoea.
  2. Sleep on your side. By sleeping on your side you help to keep your airways open, unlike when you sleep on your back or front. This helps to prevent blockages, ensuring you receive the optimal level of oxygen while you sleep.

Getting the Correct Support

Getting the proper support for your head and neck is extremely important for a good night’s sleep, especially if you’ll be sleeping on your side.

Unlike those who sleep on their back, it is generally accepted that side sleepers need additional support to keep the neck and spine in line during the night. This means that a slightly firmer pillow, or one with a technical fill such as memory foam, are the preferred options.

Here at Prestige Beds we offer a wide range of pillows to suit your individual needs. The following pillows have been identified as providing additional support, so would be ideal if you’re looking to get comfortable sleeping on your side:

If you wish to find out more about our pillow range, and what might offer the optimal support for your needs, feel free to get in touch with a member of staff in-store, over the phone, or via our Live Chat service.

For more information on sleep apnoea, as well as treatment options and advice on associated health issues, you can visit the NHS website by clicking here.