Every year in April, The British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Society roll out their National Stop Snoring Week, to raise awareness of disruptive sleep conditions, such as snoring.  

As part of our health awareness activities, we highlight health issues that could potentially affect our customers, staff and volunteers. This time we're talking about sleep apnoea and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).  

When you go to sleep your muscles relax, including those in your throat. In some people the relaxing muscles cause the airways to narrow. This can reduce the amount of air flowing in and out of your airways. This makes you snore.

If your throat completely closes, you stop breathing for a while, and when this lasts for more than 10 seconds, it is called sleep apnoea as the oxygen level in your blood is reduced.

This disruption of your sleep can cause sleepiness during the day and can affect concentration when driving.

Did you know that:

  • There are estimated to be 1.5 million people in the UK who have OSA 
  • Only 330,000 are diagnosed
  • If OSA was treated in those who have not been diagnosed an estimated 40,000 fewer traffic collisions would take place in the UK each year
  • Professional drivers are a group at risk of OSA
  • People with OSA are at 2.5 times the risk of having a traffic collision and occupational accidents than people without OSA
  • Professional drivers are 5 times more likely to have a traffic collision or occupational accident due to the increased mileage associated with their profession
  • Up to 41% of professional drivers in the UK may have a diagnosable sleep condition
  • Around 16% may have severe sleep apnoea that requires immediate treatment.

If you think that you might be affected by sleep apnoea, OSA or are having trouble sleeping, you should consult your GP. You can also find out more at the website of British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association