Waking up to the importance of deeper sleep

Discover how sleep apnea treatment is helping make Tokyo’s roads safer

Innovation and you

A good night’s sleep - it’s essential to our wellbeing. However, for people with sleep apnea, a lack of deep sleep is not just tiring, it can have a serious impact on their health and the people around them.

Sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) is when a person stops breathing while they are asleep. This happens because their upper airway repeatedly collapses, causing them to wake up or not sleep as deeply as they should.


This common sleep disorder can cause distressing symptoms like headaches, irritability, depression and, of course, tiredness1. However, it can also lead to other serious consequences – and not just for the sufferer. 


It’s thought that 15-20% of all motor vehicle crashes are sleep-related2. And, with around 100 million people worldwide suffering from some form of sleep disordered breathing (SDB) condition3, it’s an issue one Tokyo taxi firm felt it couldn’t ignore.


So they had their drivers take a very simple test. For one night, the participants wore a Philips WatchPAT* – a home sleep diagnosis device that clips on to the finger with no need for nasal cannulas or belts.

*only distributed/available in Japan


Shinobu Watanbe, one of their drivers, was surprised to learn he suffers from SAS. But, once he visited the hospital to have his diagnosis confirmed, he was on the road to recovery.

Since I started CPAP treatment, being behind the wheel for work has become much more fun. Tokyo is a city that never sleeps, but now I am able to sleep well.”


Shinobu Watanabe
Taxi Driver HINOMARU Kotsu CO. Ltd

Sleep apnea can be treated by giving the patient continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to help prevent the collapse of their upper airway. The Philips DreamStation positive airway pressure (PAP) system does this by delivering a constant stream of air pressure through the nose using a mask. 


But it doesn’t stop there.


It’s vital sleep apnea patients continue with their treatment in the long term – the potential consequences of untreated SDB include hypertension, heart disease, stroke and impaired glucose tolerance4 – so a device that’s comfortable and easy to use is essential.


The DreamStation is small and light, plus it can be operated while sitting up or lying down. And, when used in conjunction with the DreamMapper app, the patient also receives on-going feedback – including a summary of their night’s sleep and 30-day progress reports – to give them extra motivation. 


The result? Patients like Shinobu are more likely to continue enjoying deeper, better sleep – for longer. And Toyko’s roads are made that little bit safer.

  1. Kraicze, et. Al, AJRCCM 2000
  2. In US study. Young T. Blustein J, Finn L, et al. Sleep Apnea, sleepiness, and driving risk. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 1994; 150: 1463-73
  3. World Health Organisation
  4. Young, T., Epidemiology of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, AJRCCM, 2002