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Restless nights don’t have to be the norm

Friday 7 July 2017

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Over the past 12 months, the Queensland Health Sleep Disorders Program provided over 2,300 devices to assist with managing sleep disorders at home.

For people with a sleep disorder or poor sleep habits, a good night’s rest can seem all but a distant dream. 60-year old Bundaberg resident Wayne Mothe knows this all too well, after spending most of his adult life battling restless nights.

“Sleep is so important, and I’ve always struggled with it,” he said.

“I knew there was something not right, I definitely knew my sleeping habits weren’t normal, but I had hoped I would eventually get over it.”

Wayne was recently diagnosed with sleep apnoea; a condition where the walls of the throat come together during sleep, blocking off the airway.

He has spent the past two weeks at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) receiving treatment for another medical condition. During the treatment, his sleep apnoea was identified and Wayne was referred to the Queensland Health Sleep Disorders Program.

Wayne says the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine he has been using at RBWH has significantly improved his sleep, and quality of life. CPAP is a mask worn at night that prevents the throat from collapsing.

Over the past 12 months, the Queensland Health Sleep Disorders Program provided over 2,300 devices to assist with managing sleep disorders at home.

Chronic sleep disorders affect an estimated 1.2 million Australians and can be life threatening if left untreated, with links to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, depression and other serious illnesses.

RBWH Director of Thoracic Medicine Dr Stephen Morrison said sleep disorders are easy to treat effectively and are very common.

“Patients are often very symptomatic and don’t function particularly well – so the treatment we provide as part of the Sleep Disorders Program gives us that opportunity to really give them that quality of life back,” he said.

“In particular, sleep apnoea generally affects four per cent of males and two percent of females – and I think it is still underdiagnosed; thirty years ago doctors just didn’t know about it.

“These days that is obviously not the case, but there are still probably a lot of people walking around undiagnosed.”

Wayne says people that are having trouble sleeping really should seek help sooner.

“You only feel 100 per cent if you’ve had a good sleep the night before,” he said.

“I was one of those stubborn people who didn’t go get checked out, otherwise someone would have picked it up sooner.”

The Queensland Health Sleep Disorders Program is a state-wide clinical scheme that manages the treatment of patients with sleep apnoea and other sleep disorders.

There are nine Sleep Disorders Prescriber Centres across the state. For more information, visit https://www.health.qld.gov.au/qhsdp or talk to your local GP.

Last updated: 23 August 2017