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More Reasons to Use Your CPAP

By Michael Breus, PhD, ABSMJanuary 25, 2011
From the WebMD Archives

For people with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a CPAP machine can be a life-changing device. I’ve written about the importance of regularly using your CPAP machine before, but there may be even more benefits to use of a CPAP.

Most people with OSA aren’t aware of that they stop breathing multiple times during the night. This results in fragmented, poor sleep, as well as low blood oxygen levels. OSA has been associated with an increased risk for myriad health problems, including hypertension, heart disease, mood and memory problems — even difficulties driving.

CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, and CPAP machines are the most effective and helpful treatment currently available for patients with OSA. A new study in the journal SLEEP suggests that CPAP therapy can do much more than improve sleep:

  • Patients who regularly use a CPAP machine felt significantly less fatigue throughout the day.
  • Patients who regularly use a CPAP machine also had much more energy.
  • Patients felt considerably less daytime sleepiness, particularly patients who had previously been excessively sleepy or fatigued.

Scientists aren’t certain how and why CPAP therapy can have these additional positive effects, but they think that CPAP may reduce inflammation, which in turn reduces fatigue. Whatever the reason, this is great news for people who have OSA — and even better news for people who are already using CPAP machines to improve the quality of their sleep.

I’ve said before that the CPAP machine isn’t exactly the most attractive or sexy addition to your bedroom. But in addition to completely transforming the way a person with OSA sleeps, it also has the potential to help people feel less fatigued and have more energy throughout the day. We already knew that CPAP improves the quality of sleep of many, many people — and spares their partners hours of listening to the snoring and loud breathing that can accompany OSA. This study just gives us a few more reasons to recommend that patients with OSA use their machines every night.

The amazing machine that could.

Sweet Dreams,

Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor™

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