Skip to main content

Sleep disorder device may improve health and mood

Woman with a cup of coffee sitting in bed looking out window

July 22, 2019—Using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device while sleeping helps ward off depression in people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who also have heart and blood vessel problems, according to a new study.

Millions of adults have OSA, which causes their breathing to briefly stop repeatedly while they sleep. This often prevents a good night's rest. Worse, it can raise the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

In fact, up to half of people with OSA may have cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes heart attack and stroke, according to the authors of this study. And people with CVD are also prone to depression which, in turn, can make their health risks worse.

Sleeping better, feeling better

The study included more than 2,500 people who had moderate to severe OSA and CVD. The researchers tracked the study participants for an average of 3.7 years. Some of the people used a CPAP device—a common treatment for OSA. With CPAP, a mask worn over the face blows air into the airway to help it stay open during sleep.

Here's what the researchers found: After six months of treatment, those who used CPAP had fewer symptoms of depression than those who had no treatment. And their better moods lasted the entire length of the study.

This finding was independent of one of CPAP's other benefits: less daytime sleepiness.

The study appeared in the journal EClinicalMedicine .

Could you have a sleep disorder?

OSA is just one type of sleep disorder. Snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness are among the signs and symptoms. OSA can be diagnosed during an overnight sleep study.

Learn more about the symptoms of a sleep disorder. Take this sleep assessment and share the results with your doctor.

Read more breaking news Related stories