We know the pictures from the news, the consequences from the traffic news: complete closure. Accident. seriously injured. Dead. Anyone who is stuck in a traffic jam after an accident on the Autobahn is annoyed at the loss of time. What does it mean for those affected? … – What does that have to do with snoring? So. A third of all fatal accidents on motorways are attributed to microsleep. A bitter truth for anyone who suspects that they stop breathing while they sleep.
Sleep apnea is the most important cause of microsleep, ahead of irregular shift work, drug and alcohol consumption. But what is behind the disease, which is often referred to as "Obstructive Sleep Apnea" or OSA?
Sleep apnea is defined as frequent pauses in breathing during sleep. The pauses in breathing lead to oxygen desaturation in the blood, and this desaturation triggers an arousal reaction in the sleeper – actually a protective mechanism of the body against suffocation. The problem: the wake-up reaction prevents the restorative course of sleep and especially the deep sleep phases.
People with sleep apnea struggle to breathe at night, but they usually don't remember it the next morning. The level of ignorance is frightening: more than 80% of those affected do not know that they have sleep apnea.
The health consequences are manifold. One consequence, however, is that people with untreated sleep apnea are twice as likely to have an accident compared to healthy people - with the risk of serious and fatal accidents in particular increasing. A quarter of all fatal accidents are attributed to microsleep at the wheel, and even a third on motorways. The increase in the risk of accidents is due to two things: on the one hand, the increase in reaction time and, on the other hand, the dreaded microsleep.
In addition to the microsleep, the higher risk of accidents results primarily from the longer reaction time. As the Stiftung Warentest reports, braking distances are significantly longer in driving tests when sleep apnea patients were behind the wheel.
People who suffer from sleep apnea and therefore have increased daytime sleepiness are twice as likely to be at risk on the road as people who sleep well. French researchers found this out on a test track near Grenoble.
The result of their investigation:
The underdiagnosed sleep apnea naturally has particularly serious consequences for professional drivers - for example of trucks, buses, cars and trains. These drivers sit concentrated at the wheel for several hours a day.
In addition: Taxi, truck and bus drivers are particularly often overweight – also because of their sedentary work. This means that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is more common among them than in the rest of the population. However, there is no screening for sleep apnea - until now, possibly because there is no wide range of screening options.
The medical app Snorefox is a way to screen yourself for sleep apnea. Snorefox answers the question "Is my snoring dangerous?" - and uses a traffic light system to indicate whether there are dangerous breathing pauses during sleep. The result is displayed directly in the app and is not transmitted to any other location. Thus, Snorefox offers the opportunity to get an assessment for yourself.
All those affected need for this is a reasonably up-to-date smartphone and the opportunity to sleep alone for a few nights. Because when using the Snorefox, no two people are allowed to sleep in one room - and pets (purring cats and snuffling dogs) also have to leave the bedroom.
Snorefox detects breathing irregularities and respiratory events through intelligent audio analysis of snoring and breath noise patterns. In other words: Snorefox analyzes your snoring and at the same time carries out a risk check to determine whether there are dangerous breathing stops during sleep. Snorefox shows you the result of the analysis in a simple traffic light scheme. In this way, Snorefox quickly provides orientation as to whether a doctor's visit is necessary.
Snorefox ensures the highest data protection requirements through pseudonymized data processing. What does pseudonymous data processing mean? At the moment of registration, Snorefox converts your email address into a code, and only this code is transferred to our server, with the aim that the generated analytics can be assigned to your cell phone. Thus, your email address remains unknown to us and is never stored on our server with the analytics.