Royal Philips, an international health technology company, released a recent report Seeking Solutions: How COVID-19 Changed Sleep Around the World, which highlighted a survey querying 13,000 adults in 13 countries about their attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors around sleep. Only 55% of the respondents said they were satisfied with their sleep. Japanese respondents reported the lowest level of satisfaction, and those from India reported the highest partial satisfaction. 40% of respondents from the United States reported that they were somewhat satisfied with their sleep.
COVID-19 Pandemic Effects on Sleep
Unsurprisingly, approximately three-quarters of the survey respondents stated that they had one or more new sleep issues since the rise of COVID-19, with women having more trouble than men. Further, 72% of the sleep apnea patients surveyed who discontinued doing CPAP therapy blamed it on issues related to COVID-19. The survey found that most of the respondents would be willing to seek help from sleep telemedicine services. However, few reported that they had actually sought out help via telemedicine services for their sleep issues.
Interest In Sleep Telemedicine Services
The pandemic has led to increased interest and use of telehealth in general. Nearly one-third of the respondents said they had had a telehealth appointment during the pandemic. More than half of those acknowledged that it was their first telehealth appointment. Read JAMA Study: Women are less likely to use telehealth care for more information on the demographics of telehealth use. However, only 15% said they had used sleep telemedicine services to consult a specialist for sleep issues. 58% said they would be willing to try it for sleep issues, while only 36% said they would try telemedicine for non-sleep issues. One obstacle perceived by respondents is an expectation that it would be difficult to find a sleep specialist doing online or telephone programs.
Complete Sleep Care Possible via Telemedicine
In a recently published position paper in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) states that the sleep medicine specialty can offer complete, quality care remotely. Further, it states that sleep telemedicine services can effectively diagnose and manage obstructive sleep apnea and improve CPAP therapy adherence. Telemedicine has also been used as a vehicle to provide cognitive behavioral therapy to treat patients with insomnia and is as effective as in-person therapy.
mHealth Sleep Tools on the Rise
There have been many companies that have created tools focused on improving sleep. Apple offers wearable trackers on the Apple watch. Amazon has a wearable tracker called Amazon Halo. Behavioral therapy software has also been developed for sleep issues. Read TBHI’s previous blog about APPLE, GOOGLE INTEL & SAMSUNG in Behavioral Health-P1 to know which other companies are offering digital tools.
Sleep Telemedicine Services and mHealth: A Winning Combination for Sleep Improvement
The combination of access to telehealth visits with sleep professionals and wearable devices to provide detailed information about sleep characteristics has great potential to improve health outcomes for the masses worldwide who struggle with sleep issues. For more information on the synergistic effects of telehealth and mHealth, See Examples of Four Different Types of Telehealth. Dr. Douglas Kirsch, chair of the AASM Telemedicine Presidential Committee, stated, “Delivering care during the pandemic has proven to providers and insurers that telemedicine offers patients safe, secure, and effective sleep care.