Sleep apnoea ''more prevalent in winter''
Research carried out in the US has revealed a correlation between the development of sleep apnoea and the seasons, with winter the most common time of year for people to develop the problem.
Sleep apnoea is a condition whereby the body suffers from a lack of oxygen during sleep and it is most common in individuals who are overweight or obese.
This hypoxia results in the body waking and as a result, people who suffer from sleep apnoea tend to get less of the important deep, restful sleep that is essential for their ongoing wellbeing and health, as it is during deep REM sleep that the brain resets itself after the day and the body carries out tissue maintenance.
Undertaken at the University of Wisconsin, Reuters reports this new research has shown an intriguing link between the severity of the condition and the prevailing climate, with people likely to have stronger and more sustained problems when the weather is cooler.
According to the findings - which were based on the experiences of 7,500 individuals over a ten-year period - an average of 18 attacks per night were recorded by patients at sleep clinics during the winter, while this figure dropped to 15 in the summer months.
The team of researchers noted in their report that more severe sleep apnoea in the winter "can be due to several circumstances, including winter-related upper-airway problems that intensify the severity of [sleep apnoea] symptoms".
Elsewhere, a study completed in Taiwan has highlighted a link between heavy snorers - a symptom of sleep apnoea - and individuals developing serious rheumatoid arthritis.
The research showed that those who suffer from sleep apnoea are twice as likely as non-sufferers to also develop rheumatoid arthritis at some point in their life. It is believed the joint-damaging disease is triggered when a person's immune system experiences problems - something which can be set in motion by poor sleep quality.
Posted by Michael Ewing