15 March World Sleep Day: Brno Has Become a European Hub of Sleep Medicine

Since 2017, the International Centre of Clinical Research at St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) has been part of the European Sleep Apnea Database (ESADA) project. The Centre in Brno has provided data on more than 700 patients and is now among two institutions with the highest number of patients included in the project each year. In January 2020, FNUSA-ICRC will be hosting an ESADA meeting. For a few days, Brno will host experts from different parts of Europe whose research contributes to healthier sleep, which in turn decreases the risk of further health complications.

FNUSA-ICRC’s sleep laboratories are among the most modern, not just in the Czech Republic, but also in Europe. Each month, they examine over 60 patients who are admitted for one day, and besides sleep disorder diagnostics, which are referred to as sleep apnea or sleep respiratory arrest, they research the effects of sleep disorders on the occurrence and development of cardiovascular diseases.

In 2017, FNUSA-ICRC joined the ESADA project, which serves as a reference database of European sleep apnea disorder patients. “So far, we have provided data on 732 patients and in the past year, we became the second largest contributor to the database, which is a joint project of 33 research centres from all over Europe ,” explains Associate Professor Ondřej Ludka, the head researcher of the FNUSA-ICRC Sleep Medicine research team.

The database contains information on more than 25,000 patients. Researchers often use the data for their own research work and moreover, it also helps them improve care for their patients. “ESADA represents a bridge facilitating education and knowledge transfer between participating centres. We have also been trying to connect the register with other larger European databases,” adds Ludka.

Information from the register is also used by the Sleep Medicine research team. The data are used in quality scientific articles published in leading journals over the world. In 2019, Ludka will co-author two articles to be published in impact journals. They will use information from the database. The articles will describe correlations between high cholesterol levels and breathing-related sleep disorders, as well as cancer in women and sleep apnoea (“Hyperlipidemia Prevalence and Cholesterol Control in Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Data from the European Sleep Apnea Database (ESADA)” and “Cancer prevalence is increased in females with sleep apnoea – data from the ESADA”).

FNUSA-ICRC´s position as one of the leading sleep research centres is also confirmed by the fact that at the last ESADA meeting, the Brno centre was chosen as the venue for the ESADA European Sleep Research Society project meeting for January 2020.

World Sleep Day 15 March 2019 – How to achieve better and healthier sleep?

People spend as much as one-third of lives sleeping. Sleep is one of humanity’s essential needs, just like food and liquid intake, and it significantly effects overall human health. Everybody has encountered a short-term sleep disorder at least once in their lives; 15 to 30% of the population is affected by a chronic sleep disorder. Sleep can be improved by observing several rules; however, if you are experiencing more serious sleep disorders, you should always consult your doctor.


  • Avoid drinking coffee, green or black tea, cola or energy drinks approximately 4 to 6 hours before going to bed. It also advisable to stay away from alcohol, which negatively affects the quality of sleep.
  • Do not eat any heavy food in the evening; have your last meal 3-4 hours before going to bed.
  • Do not address any important issues in the evening that might upset you.
  • A light walk after dinner may improve your sleep; on the other hand, more difficult physical activity before sleep (3 to 4 hours) may be disruptive.
  • It is also advisable to refrain from smoking, especially before falling asleep and when you wake up in the middle of the night.
  • The bed and bedroom should only be used for sleeping and sex life.
  • It is a good idea to minimize noise and light in the bedroom and fall asleep at a temperature ranging between 18 and 20 °C.
  • We should get up and go to bed approximately at the same time every day (including weekends).
  • We should not spend any extra time in bed; the bed is meant for sleeping, not thinking or tossing and turning. 

Doc. MUDr. Ondřej Ludka, Ph.D.

a leading cardiologist specializing in sleep medicine

In his research, he focuses on risk factors such as respiratory disorders during sleep and respiratory arrest or sleep apnea, and its link to obesity and other cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial infarction. Associate Professor Ludka is the head of the Cardiovascular Sleep Centre at FNUSA-ICRC – one of the few workplaces in the EU that specializes in sleep disorder diagnostics and in patients with cardiovascular diseases.