A previous survey of approximately 5,000 United Kingdom residents found that 48 percent of men and 34 percent of women reported habitual or regular snoring. This condition has been associated with male gender, obesity, excessive daytime sleepiness, increasing age, night time awakenings, and smoking and mechanical obstruction in the upper airway. Additional studies report that some two percent of the British population suffers from obstructive sleep apnea, where the patient stops breathing repeatedly during their sleep, often for a minute or longer and as many as hundreds of times during a single night. This is due to a complete obstruction of the airway.
Excessive daytime sleepiness and obstructive sleep apnea are linked to cognitive impairment, a loss of memory, attention, and critical thinking, contributing factors to road traffic accidents and occupational injuries.
Researchers in the United Kingdom administered a questionnaire addressing sleep habits of personnel from two randomly selected Army bases and three Royal Air Force bases in the United Kingdom.
The questionnaire, administered to 1,300 subjects, obtained data that was analyzed using percentages, contingency table methods, and logistic regression modeling. Univariate and multivariate analyses were also conducted. The prevalence of obstructive sleep disorders was calculated by the criteria established by the International Classification of Sleep Disorders.
The survey found that three percent of respondents had obstructive sleep apnea.
The researchers state that these findings indicate that sleep disordered breathing and sleep apnea have an impact on military performance and where suspected should be referred for investigation and treatment.
Similar rates have been found in a civilian population surveyed in a previous study and the military personnel responding to this questionnaire.
Lifestyle changes can alleviate some sleep disorders. Certain surgical procedures can address the most serious cases. In any event, sleep disordered breathing and snoring are medical conditions that need further attention and resources.