Home » Sleep » Why sleep disorders can be debilitating — and hard to treat

Dr Andy Jones

Independent Medical Affairs Consultant to Bioprojet

Sleep disorders are complex conditions occurring in a wide range of forms and affecting individuals of all ages in different ways.

Experts highlight how sleep disorders are not simply an issue of not getting enough shut-eye. 

Pharmaceutical Physician, Dr Andy Jones explains: “There are so many sleep disorders — around 60. This underlines the need for investment and commitment for industry to find solutions.” 

Complex sleep conditions 

Given the complexity and nature of sleep disorders, he emphasises how treatment options should be tailored to the diagnosis and patient symptoms. 

Disturbances in sleep patterns sometimes cause episodes of abnormal sleepiness, known as Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS), and this can be debilitating. It impacts concentration and ability to carry out normal daily activities, including attending school or holding down a regular job. 

Sleep disorders can range from insomnia where people have difficulty getting enough sleep or staying asleep for long enough to narcolepsy, a long-term neurological condition that causes a person to fall asleep at inappropriate times — or sleep apnoea, which occurs when breathing is interrupted during sleep. 

Other sleep disorders include restless leg syndrome, night terrors, sleepwalking, sleep talking and vivid dreams. 

To find the right treatment, patients
must have the right diagnosis.

Sleep disorder diagnosis 

Getting the correct diagnosis for the relevant sleep disorder is critical and can be an issue for patients. Dr Jones, Independent Medical Affairs Consultant, says: “This is important for patients suffering the disorder, but also for their family to recognise the symptoms and for healthcare professionals to bear these diagnosis specifics in mind so that patients can be referred to the correct treatment centres.” 

“There are several solutions to different sleeping disorders, but getting the right treatment is very important. However, to find the right treatment, patients must have the right diagnosis.” 

Sleep disorder treatments 

He believes industry, the NHS and patient groups must work together to gain a better understanding of sleep disorders, and that includes providing access to relevant medication. 

Considerable research is being conducted to develop new treatments and therapies, although, it can still be some time before they make it to market and are available for patients. 

“Sleep disorders are complex, but the more research is done, the better our understanding is and then the more chance industry has of finding new medicines to treat patients,” says Dr Jones. 

Specialised solutions 

Companies such as Bioprojet UK are among the sector seeking to offer specialised solutions, such as those that improve wakefulness or reduce excessive daytime sleepiness and put the patient at the forefront of research and drug development. 

A French, family-owned research company founded in 1982, Bioprojet UK employs over 180 people across Europe, with approximately 40% based in research and development. 

Job code: Wak/035/2023
Date of preparation: 16/03/2023

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