United Kingdom

Brits Are Silently Suffering from Sleep Apnoea

March 14, 2014

Philips to combat Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) in the UK, which is costing the NHS £432m every year1,2


  • 17 million Brits get less than 6 hours of sleep per night3
  • OSA is estimated to affect 100 million people worldwide4
  • In the UK, OSA costs the NHS an average of £432 million every year1,2
  • 89%3 of Brits have never been diagnosed with OSA or sought medical advice, due to a lack of awareness
  • 1 in 53 people admit to having pulled a sickie at least once in their career because they didn’t get enough sleep
  • Philips has pledged to screen one million people for OSA over the next 5 years
  • People who think they may be suffering from sleep conditions are urged to take the OSA risk test: www.philips.com/worldsleepday


Do your eyelids feel heavy during meetings? Do you need two or three cups of coffee just to make it through the day?  A survey conducted by Philips reveals that over 17 million Brits get less than 6 hours of sleep per night3 and could be suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), a common sleep disorder that robs you of the sleep you need to power your day.


OSA is estimated to affect 100 million people worldwide4 and is the most common sleep disorder, where sufferers stop breathing repeatedly during sleep. In the UK, OSA currently costs the NHS a staggering £432 million every year.1,2


Caused by the narrowing or closure of the upper airway, each pause in breathing lasts upwards of 10 seconds. It registers in the individual’s brain, waking them up just enough to open the throat and begin breathing again, starting the cycle over again.


Most individuals don’t remember these episodes occurring, when waking from what feels like a sleepless night. In severe cases, people with sleep apnoea may be waking up hundreds of times every night without even knowing it.


OSA is linked to long-term health conditions and, if left untreated, can cause high blood pressure (19%5), type 2 diabetes (7%5), an irregular heartbeat (5%5) and heart disease (3%5). OSA also increases the chance of having work related or driving accidents.


On average, only 1 in 10 (11%3) Brits have been diagnosed with OSA, while 89%3 remain in the dark about the sleep disorder and whether they might be suffering from it.


For those who think they might be at risk of OSA, common tell-tale signs include:

  • Loud, disruptive snoring; gasping or choking during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches; memory or learning problems
  • Feeling irritable and not being able to concentrate on your work
  • Mood swings or personality changes; perhaps feeling depressed
  • Dry throat when you wake up and frequent urination at night


In an effort to help OSA sufferers identify and combat the disorder, Philips has pledged to screen one million people for OSA over a period of five years. This will include providing a new visual OSA guide to help people detect the symptoms, Philips is continuing to show its dedication to improving the lives of patients suffering from OSA and other serious sleep disorders.


Mark Aloia, Senior Director of Global Clinical Research, Philips Healthcare, commented:  "It surprises me that with all the talk about sleep, we’re still seeing a lack of awareness by the public and health care professionals around OSA and the significant consequences of this serious sleep disorder.  We’re looking to beat the statistics and create broader understanding of all that sleep can do to help improve overall population health."


For more information about World Sleep Day 2014 and to take the Philips OSA risk test, visit www.philips.com/worldsleepday.


Follow the World Sleep Day 2014 conversation on Twitter @philipshealth and share your Sleep Powers story.



Notes to Editors:

1 Source: Douglas, N.J. et al. Treating sleep apnoea is cost effective. Thorax. 2002; 57(1):93. Last accessed 18 October 2012


2 Source: Kapur, V et al. The medical cost of undiagnosed sleep apnea. Sleep. 1999; 22(6):749-55


3 Based on the current UK adult population. Omnibus data based on 2,000 respondents. Compiled by Censuswide on behalf of Philips in March 2014.


4 Source: http://www.stopbang.ca/osa.php#prev


5% of respondents who have been diagnosed in the UK. Omnibus data based on 2,000 respondents. Compiled by Censuswide on behalf of Philips in March 2014

For futher information please contact:

 Barbara Neate
 Philips Corporate Communications 
 Tel: + 44 (0) 1483 293 071
 Email: Barbara.neate@philips.com


About Royal Philips

Royal Philips NV (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2013 sales of EUR 23.3 billion and employs approximately 115,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming and oral healthcare. News from Philips can be found at www.philips.com/newscenter.