Sleep Studies Reveal that 1 in 3 People Diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome have Sleep Apnea

San Francisco, Ca. Researchers in Edinburgh have been undertaking the biggest survey of adults with Down’s Syndrome and sleep disordered breathing to date.

Sleep disorders are very common in the general adult population: 1 in 3 people snore, 1 in 20 people have sleep apnea and 3 out of 100 people sleep-walk nightly. All of these sleep disorders can be potentially dangerous if they lead to sleep disruption and excessive sleepiness during the day affecting important tasks such as driving and operating heavy machinery. Sleep apnea is an independent risk factor for high blood pressure and can lead to an increase in strokes and heart attacks, and now possibly cancer. For those that suffer from dementia, untreated sleep apnea can worsen dementia symptoms.

Currently more than 150-million people suffer from some form of sleep disorder worldwide. The majority of sleep research has been conducted in the general population which means many people with other health problems such as Down’s syndrome are excluded. Currently, only 2 in every 100 adults with Down’s syndrome are investigated and treated for sleep apnea. However, the researchers in Edinburgh have found that 1 in 3 individuals with this syndrome suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea which means that up to thirty percent of people are not being offered any treatment or advice for their condition.  

Sleep Apnea is a disorder characterized by breathing pauses during sleep resulting in sleep disruption. This, in turn, leads to daytime sleepiness. The breathing pauses at night and the excessive daytime sleepiness have a negative impact on health and can worsen behavioural problems, increase the risk of heart disease and endanger the lives of the sufferer as well as others if their performance of important and dangerous tasks is impaired. Currently, the best treatment for sleep apnoea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This involves a small pressure generator which delivers air via a mask worn over the nose. The upper airway is splinted open using air pressure via the mask, thus preventing the throat from collapsing and causing sleep apnoea.

The sleep researchers in Edinburgh have created an Indiegogo campaign to generate funding to continue their research in Down’s syndrome and sleep apnea as well as sleep in children with disability. They are also undertaking other research that will lead to new and improved treatment in sleep problems, teaching and outreach within the community. Financial backers can receive perks when donating to the campaign. Supporters can receive a relaxation CD, silk eye mask, a signed copy of Dr. Riha’s book, and the satisfaction of helping researchers to find better treatments for people suffering from sleep disorders. Any donation is accepted, even $1.00!

To learn more about the Edinburgh Sleep Research Unit and how to donate on the current Indiegogo campaign, please visit



Media Contact
Company Name: Sleep Research
Contact Person: Dr. Renata Riha MD
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Phone: +44 (0)131 242 3072
Country: United Kingdom