Ask Dr. Heidi Riney, Nox’s Chief Medical Officer, to share a few sleep therapy patient stories, and the floodgates of emotion, pride and even amazement open.
There’s the story of a patient who, barely in his 40s, was already on three blood pressure medications. Yet after one month of coordinated care, he was able to drop one completely.
Another sleepless patient, a successful PhD in his 50s, was also struggling with something that would disrupt anyone’s nights: acute memory loss. But just weeks after a diagnosis of sleep apnea and ensuing treatment, he proudly announced not only that “I’m back to where I was,” but that the chronic pain that had plagued him for years had vanished as well.
Across the US and worldwide, millions of successes like these are waiting to be revealed. And they’re all proof of the undeniable yet surprisingly under-explored connection between sleep issues, especially sleep apnea, and literally thousands of chronic diseases.
The chronic disease connection
Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, dementia, depression, and anxiety are just a handful of conditions affected by sleep issues, as are mood, memory and productivity. Sleeplessness can alter the gut microbiome and lower immunity. Sleep apnea doesn’t just lead to obesity and its many related conditions, but can cause it all, too.
In 2021, Harvard Medical School reported that chronic sleep issues affect up to 80% of psychiatric patients — four times higher than the rest of the population.
With a fifth of Americans suffering a chronic sleep condition, that means an equally dramatic number of employees are as well. And research shows that the cost of those employees to health care programs is at least three times higher than the rest of the workforce.
Poor sleepers simply cost more.
Sleep is a severely under-supported critical care gap, one that billions of employer dollars for chronic illness care are needlessly falling into.
How can companies avoid the gap?
It begins by looking into sleep way sooner. As Dr. Riney suggests, instead of employees with a chronic health concern wasting time and money seeing four or five physicians in pursuit of an answer, that critical first visit should involve a serious look into sleep as well.
And here’s why: effective, consistent sleep treatment not only improves overall health outcomes, but those employees end up using far less other health services as well — substantially lowering the overall cost of their care.
A study we conducted with diabetes patients is just one example. In 2019, we learned that our SleepCharge patients with diabetes started sleep apnea treatment with a higher average cost of complications than non-participant diabetics. By 2021, their average cost was lower than the non-participants.
Not all sleep treatment is the same.
Traditional sleep benefits make it difficult for members to adopt and stick with therapy. The Nox difference is the three C’s: comprehensive, coordinated, and continuous, which lead to superior long-term adherence and the vital metrics that come from that.
The Nox solution offers compassionate, around-the clock virtual care, and can be easily used at home, on the road or virtually anywhere.
The gap is as closeable as you want
While most people are aware of the importance of sleep to what we’ll call our personal bottom lines, few of us, including health and benefits managers, have made the connection between poor sleep and poor overall health, and the high human and financial costs it brings. Yet once you see the numbers and hear stories like the ones Dr. Riney shared, the connection is unignorable.
If you’ve started to make the connection, we’d love to help you understand how you can begin to narrow your own gap, between the benefits you’re providing and the results they’re giving. There’s no reason to fall into it anymore.