Frequently Asked Questions – Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Frequently Asked Questions – Obstructive Sleep Apnoea


Q. What is obstructive sleep apnoea?

A. Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a relatively common condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing. This may lead to regularly interrupted sleep, which can have a big impact on quality of life and increases the risk of developing certain conditions. 


Q. How common is obstructive sleep apnoea?

A. Only about 1 in 50 children have obstructive sleep apnoea. It's also more common in men than in women. But what's frightening is that as many as 9 in 10 people who have obstructive sleep apnoea don't know that they have it. Untreated, sleep apnoea can lead to serious health problems.


Q. What are the main symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea?

A. Loud snoring.

Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep — which would be reported by another person.

Gasping for air during sleep.

Awakening with a dry mouth.

Morning headache.

Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)

Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)

Difficulty paying attention while awake.


Q. What happens is obstructive sleep apnoea is left untreated?

A. If left untreated, sleep apnoea can result in several health problems including hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the muscle tissue of the heart), heart failure, diabetes, obesity, and heart attacks.  Reducing your weight is likely to make a difference to your condition. Certainly, increasing weight will make your snoring and sleep related breathing irregularities worse. It is important that you try to reach an ideal body weight and maintain the weight loss. Reducing your weight will also decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Remember to be more physically active as well as eating less. 9


Q. Does obstructive sleep apnoea happen every night?

A. Sleep apnoea is a serious sleep disorder. People who have sleep apnoea stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds at a time while they are sleeping. These short stops in breathing can happen up to 400 times every night.


Q. Can obstructive sleep apnoea be cured?

A. CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) and oral appliances work well and are a very good treatment option for many people, but they're not cures for sleep apnoea. The only sure way to rid yourself of the condition for good is to either lose weight or have surgery to remove excess tissue from the palate or throat. Surgery can have side effects, which is why it's usually viewed as a last resort.

A (2). CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) and oral appliances can work well and are a good treatment option for many people, but they don’t tackle the actual cause of the sleep apnoea. There may be a surgical option to remove excess tissue from the palate or throat and losing weight can help with the condition in some cases. Surgery is usually considered a last resort due to potential side effects.



Q. What foods cause obstructive sleep apnoea?

A. Some foods are known to interfere with sleep and could potentially make a sleep apnoea condition worse. It’s recommended to avoid eating an excess of any of these foods:


Refined Carbohydrates. 

Dairy products


Fatty Meats


Q. Does eating before bedtime affect obstructive sleep apnoea?

A. Late meal timing has been associated with worse sleep pattern and quality and apnoea severity than early meal timing.  It’s common knowledge that both getting good sleep and following a healthy diet are essential for overall health. Often overlooked, though, is that there is an important relationship between sleep and nutrition.  A major part of that relationship is the link between sleep and overeating. Sleep deprivation can affect appetite and food choices, increasing the likelihood of both overeating and consuming unhealthy foods.  Overeating can affect sleep as well. Eating too much, especially when it involves heavy or spicy foods, can worsen sleep by interfering with digestion and raising the risk of heartburn. For this reason, most experts advise against eating too much and too close to bedtime.


Q. What is NightOwl?

A. NightOwl is 1 of only 2 fully disposable, medical grade sleep devices in the world and comes with 10 nights worth of sleep study capacity.  That means once device could last for 2 years after your initial study has been completed, based on re-testing at 6 monthly intervals.  It is a monitor that is taped to your finger and the unique technology sensor measures a range of information including body movement, heart rate, and the amount of oxygen in your blood.  The data is captured and sent for analysis by a sleep physician via the NightOwl that can be downloaded to a smart phone (smart phone hire option is available for customers who do not have access to one or would prefer not to use their own device)  The information analysed estimates metrics such as your Apnoea Hypopnea Index (AHI), your Rapid-Eye Movement (REM) and Non-Rapid-Eye Movement (Non-REM) sleep, your oxygen saturation, total sleep time and much more.  This data is used to determine an obstructive sleep apnoea diagnosis


Q. What is involved in the obstructive sleep apnoea test?

A. Step 1 – Place your order for the sleep study.  Your order will be confirmed via an email or telephone call from one of our customer care team.  Receive the sleep test in the mail and download the NightOwl app on your phone or if you prefer, you can hire a smart phone which has the app pre-loaded. Follow the instructions in the app to set up your sleep device (help from our customer care team is available should you need or want it) and record your sleep for 2 or 3 consecutive nights.  Step 2 - Once the sleep study is complete, your results will be analysed by one of our sleep physicians and our customer care team will contact you to discuss your diagnosis.  You will also receive a copy of your report by secure email or by post, should you prefer.  Step 3 – Once you have received your report, our customer care team will contact you to discuss the result and to help you make informed choices about treatment should you need it.  You can contact our customer care team at any time if you have a question or a concern on 02922 700700.



Q. What should I do if my initial sleep study test indicates I do not have obstructive sleep apnoea?

A. If your initial test indicates you do not have sleep apnoea, we recommend you repeat the test again after 6 months.  Your NightOwl device is programmed to record a total of 10 night’s sleep study, which in theory should last for 2 years, based on 6-monthly re-testing patterns.


Q.  What should I do if my initial sleep study test indicates I have obstructive sleep apnoea?

A. Our customer care team will contact you to discuss your results.  At that point we will recommend treatment options and help you source the right option for you.  Your result will be sent to you via secure email or in the post for you to discuss with your GP at any time.


Q. How much does the NightOwl sleep study test cost?

A. The cost will depend on which study package you chose.  There are several options available which include duration of study and whether you wish to hire a smart phone as part of your package.  If you are unsure which option is best for you, please contact our customer care team on 02922 700700.



*1:Mid-West Centre for Sleep Disorders


Back to blog