Do you think you may have sleep apnoea? Now could be a good time to undergo a sleep study and not for the most obvious reason!

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which a person stops breathing multiple times an hour in their sleep. It could be for a few seconds or twenty seconds and can be alarming for a sleeping partner to witness.

If you have some of the below symptoms, see your GP about a referral for a sleep study. The timing could be well in your favour because if you’ve had a hospitalisation this year and you’ve already paid your health fund excess, then you can avoid paying it again for your sleep study. It involves a sleepover in a hospital sleep clinic so it is considered an in-patient service.

Obstructive sleep apnoea symptoms

  • Loud snoring
  • ‘Choking’ sounds while sleeping
  • Gasping for air
  • Waking up with a dry mouth
  • Partner notices you stop breathing while sleeping
  • Irritability
  • ‘Brain fog’, difficulty concentrating during the day
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Morning headaches

Read more here.

How does a sleep study work?

You’ll see a sleep specialist first who will determine whether a sleep study is warranted. You will be booked into hospital where you will sleep in a private room, usually set up to look more like a bedroom than a hospital room.

A sleep scientist technician will connect a number of sensors to your scalp, chest and legs which will monitor your body the entire time you’re asleep. You’ll wear your normal PJs and you can bring personal items with you such as a book, a tablet or music device. You can even take along your favourite sleep oil products!

There is no pain involved, just a little discomfort from being attached to cords but you soon ignore them.

The data collected from your sleep study is analysed by the technician and then interpreted by your doctor. Depending on the results, you may or may not need CPAP therapy.

Finding out you have sleep apnoea can be a little disconcerting but when you consider how much better you will feel and how much better your sleep can be, you’ll likely experience a great sense of relief.