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Poor sleep quality: Is it stress or apnea?

Poor sleep quality: Is it stress or apnea?

SAN DIEGO – For half of Americans, stress over the past year of the pandemic is negatively impacting the quality of their sleep, according to the results of nationwide survey of 1,000 adults conducted by ResMed. 

While COVID-related stresses are often noticeable, one of the biggest stealers of sleep might be something people can’t easily detect: sleep apnea, the company says. 

“While data show that stress and worry are key factors impacting many people’s sleep, now is an opportunity for everyone to take measure of all the factors that could be impacting the quality of sleep, which could include sleep disorders that can have negative long-term impacts to overall health,” said Carlos M. Nunez, M.D., chief medical officer for ResMed. 

ResMed published the survey in conjunction with National Sleep Awareness Week (March 14-20) and World Sleep Day (March 19), and as part of “Sleep for a Better Tomorrow,” an education and outreach initiative to build awareness of the critical role good sleep plays in physical and mental health. 

The survey found 78% of those who snore aren’t concerned it could be related to an underlying health condition, despite snoring being a top symptom of sleep apnea. Additionally, nearly half of respondents said their doctor had not asked them about their sleep quality, reinforcing the importance of consumers being aware of the potential health impacts of poor sleep and acting on key sleep apnea symptoms, such as snoring. 

The survey also found: 

  • 35% of women reported worse sleep quality in the past year compared to 26% of men; 
  • More individuals working from home reported improved sleep quality since the pandemic began vs. those who haven’t worked from home (39% vs. 21%); and  
  • Across all respondents, more than one-third say they are having a harder time falling asleep and nearly one third say they are sleeping less over the last year, with one-quarter taking naps more often. 


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