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Sleep Disorders Cost Kiwis Millions

Sleep Disorders Cost Kiwis Millions

If you often wake up feeling tired, puffy eyed and like you could roll over and go back to sleep for the rest of the morning, you’re not alone; 25% of New Zealanders report having a chronic sleep problem, and 55% report never waking refreshed[1].

This Friday 16 March is World Sleep Day, an annual event to celebrate sleep and raise awareness of sleep related issues.

Sleep disorders, particularly sleep apnoea are common and seriously affect our wellbeing, productivity and performance at work. Sleep apnoea, where people sleep poorly because of repeated blockage of their airways is treatable, but costs New Zealand at least $40 million a year in lost productivity, and increases the risk of accidents and other illnesses like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory failure[2].

In New Zealand, studies have shown that increasing obesity is linked to the rising prevalence of sleep apnoea, not only in adults but also in children. It affects at least 16,000 adults, 4% of the population and up to 2% of children[3]. Currently most of these sufferers go undiagnosed and untreated but the successful correction of sleep apnoea can dramatically improve sleep quality and overall health. “A lot of people think that snoring and tolerating poor sleep is normal, but it’s not. If you’re tired all the time, even if you think that you’re getting enough sleep, there’s likely to be a problem. Sleep disorders are treatable,” says sleep specialist Dr. Alex Bartle.

Organised by the World Association of Sleep Medicine, the theme of this year’s World Sleep Day on Friday 16 March is “breathe easily, sleep well”, which aims to raise awareness of sleep apnoea and its cost to society. More information regarding World Sleep Day can be found online



1. Paine, S.J, Gander, P.H, Harris, R & Reid, P. (2004). Who Reports Insomnia? Relationships with Age, Sex, Ethnicity, and Socioeconomic Deprivation. Sleep. 27 (6) 1163-1169.
2 Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association 27 August 2010, vol 123, no 1321.
3. Young T, Peppard PE, Gottlieb DJ: Epidemiology of obstructive sleep apnea. American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine 2002;165:1217-1239.

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