Royal Philips released the findings of its 6th annual sleep survey that found COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the healthy sleep of people across the world, including reduced CPAP therapy adherence.

In a report titled Seeking Solutions: How COVID-19 Changed Sleep Around the World, Philips surveyed 13,000 adults in 13 countries to capture attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors around sleep.

The survey revealed that, since the beginning of COVID-19, 70% of respondents experienced one or more new sleep challenges, with 60% reporting that the pandemic had directly impacted their ability to sleep well. It also revealed that while such challenges have been widespread, sleep apnea patients have been disproportionately affected.

According to Philips, there was also strong interest in implementing tools and strategies – such as telehealth, online information resources, and lifestyle changes – to address these challenges. 

More People Turning to Online Resources and Telehealth for Sleep Concerns

While some people may have relied on lifestyle strategies – such as soothing music, meditation or reading – to address their sleep woes, many turned to online searches to learn more about treatments to improve sleep (34%). With the increased reliance on telehealth during the pandemic, more than half (58%) of respondents expressed a willingness to seek help for sleep related concerns in future from a sleep specialist via telehealth services, although many have yet to take that step. The majority (70%) currently believed it would be difficult [1] to find a sleep specialist through an online or telephone-based program.

Chief Medical Liaison, Sleep & Respiratory Care at Philips “This year’s survey results confirm what we’ve known to be true for a while: with the right solutions, care doesn’t have to be defined by a place, but instead by the needs of the individual and his or her condition,” said Dr. Teofilo Lee-Chiong, MD, Chief Medical Liaison, Sleep & Respiratory Care at Philips. “The tools required to deliver telehealth efficiently and reliably already exist, and the interest from consumers is apparent, particularly in the face of COVID-19. When used properly, sleep telehealth has the potential to enhance efficiency and quality of care, improve health outcomes, empower patients to make informed decisions, and provide equitable healthcare for all. Extending the reach of patient care through technology means we empower providers to confidently guide patients across multiple settings and transitions of care, driving better health outcomes.”

In 2020, Philips furthered the care-from-anywhere approach in the sleep sector by introducing a clinically-validated, low-touch CPAP Mask Selector tool that can be used remotely from the comfort of the patient’s home. As part of Philips’ complete home-based end-to-end solution that includes Alice NightOne home sleep testHome Delivery and Remote Set-up kit, and therapy adherence virtual services, Philips’ 2D Mask Selector option means patients with sleep issues may not even need to leave home to receive the diagnosis and treatment they need. On the provider side, clinicians can remotely manage their sleep and respiratory patients using Philips Care Orchestrator

Sleep Apnea Patients Struggled with CPAP Therapy During COVID-19

Sleep apnea continues to impact quality of sleep across the world, with a slight increase reported by those who have been diagnosed with the issue since last year (2020: 9% vs. 2021: 12%). While Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is the most commonly prescribed treatment for the condition, this year’s survey revealed a drop in the proportion of sleep apnea patients using their CPAP (2020: 36% vs. 2021: 18%) and an increase in the proportion who have never used the CPAP they were prescribed (2020: 10% vs. 2021: 16%).  With 72% of those who discontinued CPAP therapy citing COVID-19 related reasons, ranging from financial challenges (55%) to limited access of supplies (44%), it would appear that the COVID-19 pandemic has been an inhibiting factor in CPAP therapy compliance. Perhaps most concerning, however, was that 57% of those living with sleep apnea had never been prescribed CPAP at all.

Philips’ latest global sleep survey findings further solidify the company’s commitment to developing clinically-proven solutions to empower those living with sleep apnea and those facing other sleep challenges to take control of their health. For more than 35 years, Philips has been studying sleep from every angle, collecting billions of nights of sleep data to better understand how sleep affects health. Today, Philips’ growing portfolio of sleep solutions collectively address more than 80% of known sleep issues [2]. These solutions and services are supported by clinical research and technical data to offer scientifically personalized care and instill confidence among those who use them.  COVID-19 may have forever impacted the healthcare industry, and sleep care is clearly no exception. Since the beginning of 2020, for example, Philips has seen a 35% increase in the average number of unique devices connecting to its cloud-based sleep and respiratory remote patient management software [3], highlighting the need for such solutions.

[1] Indicates net “somewhat” or “complete” agreement with the statement
[2] Snoring, Short Sleep, Insomnia, and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
[3] Based on snapshot data from Philips Encore Anywhere database. Percent change between Average daily unique devices connecting to Encore Anywhere by US companies = 1,490,341 as of 12/31/2019 and Average daily unique devices connecting to Encore Anywhere by US companies = 2,005,352 as of 10/1/2020