World Sleep Day

March 16, 2012

Philips is an official sponsor of World Sleep Day 2012 (WSD), part of a global partnership with the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM). This partnership illustrates Philips’ commitment to helping increase people’s understanding of the seriousness of sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which, if not properly managed, can have a significant impact on a person’s health and well-being.


Sleep problems constitute a global epidemic that threatens health and quality of life for up to 45 percent of the world’s population. Although most sleep disorders are preventable or treatable, less than a third of sufferers seek professional help. For the millions of people worldwide who suffer from chronic conditions, Philips solutions can enable a level of freedom and independence that was previously unattainable by delivering intuitive, simple-to-use solutions in the place where people want and need it to be – in their home.


WSD is an annual celebration of sleep taking place on March 16th that serves as a call to action on important sleep-related issues. Organized by the World Sleep Day Committee of the WASM, WSD aims to lessen the burden sleep disorders place on society through better understanding of sleep conditions and more research into this area to support emphasis on the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.


Sleep-related respiratory disturbances and loss of quality of sleep can lead to numerous health problems such as hypertension, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Failure to obtain quality sleep may lead to poor alertness, lack of attention, reduced concentration, and decreased work and academic productivity. It can also increase the risk for an irregular heartbeat, worsen heart failure and increase the chance of having work related or driving accidents.¹


This year’s WSD encourages the promotion of healthy sleep for people of all ages, and focuses on the theme, “breathe easily, sleep well.”


Sleep Disorders - Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
The most common sleep disorders include: insomnia, parasomnias (sleepwalking, night terrors, night eating), REM sleep disorders, narcolepsy, sleep deprivation and OSA.²


OSA is the most common form of sleep-disordered breathing. People who have OSA stop breathing repeatedly during sleep. It is caused by narrowing or closure of the upper airway during sleep. Each pause in breathing lasts upwards of 10 seconds and has a drop in oxygen associated. For OSA to be significant, these events need to occur more than five times per hour of sleep, however, some patients can have as many as 100 events per hour of sleep.


OSA symptoms 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


One of the main treatment options for OSA is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).


CPAP therapy provides a gentle flow of pressurised air through your nose and/or mouth using a mask. The air pressure prevents the narrowing and closure of the upper airway, allowing the patient to breathe freely during sleep. This non-invasive therapy can alleviate the symptoms of OSA when used as prescribed.


Due to a lack of awareness by the public and health care professionals, the vast majority of OSA sufferers remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated, despite the fact that this serious disorder can have significant consequences. The medical costs of untreated OSA in the United States alone are estimated at USD 3.4 billion each year, but the total economic impact of OSA is far greater due to indirect costs such as loss of productivity, accidents and disability.³


A Call to Action
Philips’ goal is to help put more emphasis on the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders in general and of sleep-breathing problems in particular. Philips needs help spreading the message that more research is needed to completely understand sleep and causes of sleep disorders.


Those who suffer from sleep disorders don’t necessarily have to continue to do so - most sleep problems can be managed by medical therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. Patients suffering from sleep complaints or who suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness should see a physician and if needed obtain a consultation in a sleep center. If you think you or someone you know may suffer from OSA, visit to take the Philips self-assessment Sleep Quiz. 


¹ National Institute of Health. (2010, August 10). National heart lung and blood institute. Retrieved from
² Schenck, C. H. (2011). Sleep and parasomnias. Retrieved from
³ (2008). The IDF consensus statement on sleep aponea and type 2 diabetes.

World Sleep Day

World Sleep Day

World Sleep Day