Condition: Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders

There are several sleep related breathing disorders that effect patients balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. This can have serious health impacts on both the patient’s lifestyle and physical health.


Tel: 020 3653 2006


Snoring and sleep apnoea are the most common sleep related breathing disorders, however there are other sleep issues that have serious effects on sleep and balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.


Sleep-related hypo-ventilation

This involves elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the blood during sleep. This is a result from a lack of air moving in and out of the lungs. The insufficient breathing is usually associated with the patient having a health-related hyperventilation disorder such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary hypertension, or disorders that effect the nervous system. Diagnostics and treatment for sleep-related hyperventilation is often directed at managing the underlying illness contributing to breathing problems.

Sleep-related hypoxemia

This is similar to sleep related hypoventilation, where concentrations of oxygen in the blood drop. Unlike sleep related hypoventilation the levels of carbon dioxide in the blood don’t rise to the same ratio. Sleep related hypoxemia most often occurs because of another health problem that effect breathing and a patient’s lungs.


This is a pattern of abnormal breathing and vocalisation (groaning) during sleep. Most commonly during episodes of catathrenia a patient will exhale slowly and make a monotone, grown-like sound. While there are no resulting health risks to the sleeper, this could cause embarrassment or disruption to their partner. Medical advice and treatments are available.


This is when a patient grinds their teeth at night. Bruxism is often related to stress, anxiety or sleep problems such as snoring and sleep apnoea. Most commonly symptoms include face, neck and jaw pain, and headaches. While treatment for teeth grinding is not always needed if a patient is concerned medical treatments are available.

Symptoms of sleep-related breathing disorders

Most commonly the symptoms for sleep breathing disorders include snoring or grunts during sleep, waking up gasping or choking, excessive day time tiredness, headaches, and poor sleep quality.

Tests for sleep-related breathing disorders

For patients or partners of patients concerned that they suffer from sleep related breathing disorders, OneWelbeck offers a full specialist evaluation through our Sleep Studies. The OneWelbeck sleep related breathing disorders pathway will include an at-home sleep study to analyse breathing and sleep behaviour which can decipher whether they are suffering from any sleep related breathing disorders. The OneWelbeck sleep studies pathway includes:

  • Diagnostic blood tests
  • Study with SUNRISE device which is an overnight sleep study to be taken in the comfort of your own home for 1 night
  • Your results are analysed within 48 hours, and your overnight sleep report together with other investigations are discussed at a detailed medical consultation with a respiratory sleep doctor. A full history and examination (preferably with an accompanying partner) will also be taken
  • Please note that further diagnostics may be required, such as a more detailed NOX T3 study within our Lung Health centre or an EEG within our Neurology centre

Alternatively, if you would prefer to receive just a consultation with one of our respiratory consultants we offer this for £300. This is also available to discuss prior test results or diagnoses.

For more information, please call us on 0203 653 2006, or email

Treatments for sleep-related breathing disorders

Upon completing the OneWelbeck Sleep study if there is a positive diagnostic for OSA there are a variety of treatments that will be advised by the sleep consultant based on the feedback from the diagnostics.

The gold standard for treatments for sleep related breathing disorders is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This is a mask that will blow air through the nostrils and/or mouth throughout the night, keeping the airways open and the snoring at a minimum.

There is also the option for nasal and throat surgical sleep treatments for sleep related breathing disorders. The patient will be notified if they have the option to undergo these once they have been assessed.

Any additional medical issues that are identified in the sleep study tests will be internally referred to the appropriate sub-specialty.

Find out more about sleep disturbance with Professor Polkey

Professor Michael Polkey, Sleep Medicine and Respiratory Consultant at OneWelbeck Lung Health discusses the causes and symptoms associated with sleep disorders and explains how a lack of sleep or disrupted sleep can impact your health.