Sleep Health | Sleep Review
Royal Philips released the results of its 6th Annual Sleep Survey in a report entitled Seeking Solutions: How COVID-19 Changed Sleep Around the World. Almost a year after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Philips surveyed 13,000 adults in 13 countries to record attitudes, perceptions and behaviors related to sleep. This year’s survey shows that since the beginning of COVID-19, 70% of respondents have had one or more new sleep problems. 60% said the pandemic directly affected their ability to sleep well. It also shows that while such challenges were widespread, sleep apnea patients were disproportionately affected. The good news is that there is a keen interest in implementing tools and strategies such as telemedicine, online information resources, and lifestyle changes to address these challenges.
Online resources and telemedicine
While some people may have relied on lifestyle strategies like soothing music, meditation, or reading to solve their sleep problems, many turned to searching online to learn more about sleep enhancement treatments (34%). In view of the increasing reliance on telemedicine during the pandemic, more than half (58%) of the respondents expressed their willingness to seek help with sleep-related problems from a sleep specialist via telemedicine services in the future, although many have not yet taken this step. The majority (70%) currently believed that it would be difficult to find a sleep specialist through an online or telephone program.
[RELATED: How Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacted CPAP Use?]
“This year’s survey results confirm what we have recognized as true for some time: With the right solutions, care does not have to be defined by a location, but by the needs of the individual and his or her condition.” Teofilo Lee-Chiong, senior medical liaison officer for sleep and respiratory care at Philips, in a press release. “The tools needed to deliver telemedicine efficiently and reliably are already in place and consumer interest is evident, especially in the face of COVID-19. When used properly, sleep telemedicine can improve the efficiency and quality of care, improve health outcomes, enable patients to make informed decisions, and ensure equitable health care for all. By expanding the reach of patient care through technology, providers can safely guide patients through different environments and transitions of care for better health outcomes. “
Sleep apnea patients and CPAP use during COVID-19
Sleep apnea continues to affect the quality of sleep around the world. A slight increase was reported by those diagnosed with the problem since last year (2020: 9% versus 2021: 12%). While CPAP therapy is the most commonly prescribed treatment for the condition, this year’s survey found a decrease in the proportion of sleep apnea patients using their CPAP (2020: 36% versus 2021: 18%) and an increase in the proportion who who has never been used the CPAP prescribed for them (2020: 10% compared to 2021: 16%). With 72% of those dropping out of CPAP therapy citing COVID-19-related reasons, ranging from financial challenges (55%) to limited access to supplies (44%), the COVID-19 pandemic appears Inhibiting factor in CPAP to have been adherence to therapy. Perhaps most worrying, however, was that 57% of people with sleep apnea had never been prescribed CPAP.