Everyone realizes the immediate effects of a poor night’s sleep – they feel tired all day, find it difficult to focus on a task, and may even be impatient. But did you know that consistently impaired sleep each night and affect your health and life expectancy? How is quality sleep defined?
“Most adults need around 1.5–2 hours of deep sleep per night. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise adults aged 18–60 years to aim for at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Around 25% of this should be deep sleep.”– According to the CDC
What are the long-term benefits of a regular diet of quality sleep? In a nutshell, every aspect of the quality of life is impacted positively. We’ll discuss the following benefits:
- Healthcare Costs Savings
- Extended Life Expectancy
- Improved Mental Health
- Improved Focus and Functionality
- Improved Health and Decreased Comorbidly Risks
Educating yourself on the advantages of quality sleep will not only help you appreciate the importance of getting sufficient sleep in your life but encourage you to ensure you are doing all you can treat you or your family’s obstructive sleep apnea.
Better Sleep Results in Healthcare Cost Savings
According to a study by ResMed that was presented at the SLEEP 2023 conference:
“One study analyzed 1,472 people with OSA and systolic heart failure, with exactly half adherent on PAP therapy and half non-adherent. The adherent patients had 24% fewer ER visits and incurred 40% lower costs related to hospitalizations and ER visits over one year ($3,500 vs. $5,879) compared to non-adherent patients.”– ResMed
So for those patients who accomplished 88% CPAP adherence rates (which means patients used their CPAP treatment 88% of the time they were asleep) lowered their risk of Emergency Room visits and hospitalizations.
“Compared with the year before therapy, there were significant reductions in the number of emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and severe acute exacerbations during 2 years of PAP therapy in patients who were versus were not adherent. This improvement in health status was paralleled by a significant reduction in the associated healthcare costs.”– NIH.com
And for older adults, there is a reduction of healthcare and Medicare costs as a result of improved health and lowered occurrence of comorbidities.
“Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), considered the gold standard treatment for OSA, prevents nocturnal hypoxemia and provides beneficial effects on various cardiometabolic outcomes, including blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, inflammation, oxidative stress, and vascular health. In addition, we recently reported that older adults who adhere to CPAP treatment have reduced cardiovascular and stroke risk, which translates into reduced inpatient health care use among Medicare beneficiaries with comorbid OSA and CVD and overall positive economic benefits among patients with OSA.”– NIH
And finally, the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine presented a study that show a direct correlation between CPAP adherence and healthcare costs:
“Treating patients with moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea with positive airway pressure therapy is associated with reduced acute care visits and healthcare expenditures, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Every one-hour increase in PAP usage per night was associated with an 8% decrease in inpatient visits and a 4% decrease in overall acute care visits.”(Read Article)
So next time you hear that CPAP Therapy is expensive, consider the cost savings and reduced stress by avoiding ER visits, hospitalization, ongoing healthcare treatment and doctor visits due to health risks associated with obstructive sleep apnea.
Better Sleep Results in Longer Life Expectancy
A recent study by the Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston, cited that prioritizing sleep in your life and committing to good sleep habits can add nearly 5 years to a man’s life expectancy and nearly 2.5 in women.
“If people have all these ideal sleep behaviors, they are more likely to live longer. If we can improve sleep overall, and identifying sleep disorders is especially important, we may be able to prevent some of this premature mortality,”said study coauthor Dr. Frank Qian, a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School and internal medicine resident physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
When you are sleeping uninterrupted and getting at least a two hours of REM sleep per night, your body has the ability to restore your body’s cellular structure.
“The restorative theory states that sleep allows for the body to repair and replete cellular components necessary for biological functions that become depleted throughout an awake day.”– NIH
In basic terms, restorative sleep happens when brain activity during sleep helps restore your body and mind, essentially resetting you for another day of activity. Experts continue to study the process of sleep, but they’ve found data to suggest your body and brain accomplish a lot during sleep, including muscle repair, protein synthesis, and tissue growth. Increase quantity of restorative sleep can prevent disease and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and strokes, all of which have shown to shorten lifespan.
“It’s estimated 936 million adults worldwide between the ages of 30 and 69 may suffer from sleep apnea, with many more people undiagnosed. If the sleep apnea is severe and untreated, people have three times the risk of dying from any cause.”– CNN
Better Sleep Results in Improved Mental Health
We all know the saying, “waking up on the wrong side of the bed” which means that poor sleep the night before can affect our mood, which does not take scientific research to prove. Studies have shown that those with untreated obstructive sleep apnea are at greater risk for mental health issues including depression, moodiness, irritability and anxiety, even suicidal tendencies.
“Compared with those without sleep apnea, those reporting past-year sleep apnea had 3.11 times increased odds of having depression, 2.75 times increased odds of suicidal ideation, 3.68 times increased odds of anxiety, and 2.88 times increased odds of severe psychological distress. Individuals with sleep apnea have increased risk for psychopathology, including suicidal ideation. Efforts to address the mental health care needs of those with sleep apnea are needed.”– NIH
Research has also demonstrated that regular use of CPAP therapy to treat sleep apnea can lessen symptoms of depression.
“Depression cases decreased by 13.1% in the high-CPAP-adherence group and increased by 4.1% in the low-CPAP-adherence group. Specialized obstructive sleep apnea treatment with CPAP reduces depression scores, with a trend toward greater reduction in those with high CPAP adherence.”– NIH
Conclusion is that the more a patient adheres to the recommended usage of their CPAP Therapy have improved mental health. How does sleep improve mental health? Sufficient sleep, especially rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, facilitates the brain’s processing of emotional information. During sleep, the brain works to evaluate, interpret and remember thoughts and memories, and it appears that a lack of sleep is especially harmful to the consolidation of positive emotional content. This can influence mood which can ultimately cause mental health disorders at various levels of severity, including the risk of suicidal ideation.
Better Sleep Results in Better Focus and Functionality
It’s also not hard to imagine that if you don’t sleep well the night before you are not at your best mentally, with inability to focus, feeling in a fog, or easily confused. Even automatic habitual behaviors can become harder to perform without quality sleep the night before.
“Otherwise healthy middle-age men newly diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea showed poorer mental function in areas such as judgment, impulse control and recognizing other people’s feelings compared to men without the condition, according to research published Thursday in Frontiers in Sleep.”MSNBC.com (April 2023) – (read article)
And according to another study, long-term untreated sleep apnea can permanently cause increase of white matter in your brain, causing cognitive impairments as we age.
“People with severe sleep apnea who spent less time in deep, also known as slow-wave sleep, had more damage to the white matter of the brain than people who had more slow-wave sleep, according to a study published by the American Academy of Neurology in July 2023.”– CNN Health
“For every 10% decrease in time spent in deep sleep, there was an increase of white matter hyperintensities in the brain similar to the effect of being 2.3 years older. The association with sleep apnea was only unveiled when we isolated severe cases, suggesting that mild to moderate sleep apnea may not be significantly associated with white matter changes.”-Dr. Diego Carvalho, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
What is white matter of the brain? White matter is the tissue that forms connections between brain cells and the rest of the nervous system. Seen on a brain scan, small white spots show extent of damage. There is currently no cure or treatment for this condition, so prevention is the goal. More white matter slows the brain’s ability to process information, decreases attention, and remember data, as well as cause depression, anxiety, and irritability.
Another risk of impaired cognitive ability caused by sleep apnea has been proven to increase the risk of vehicle accidents. Why? Without quality sleep, drivers respond slower, have greater difficulty making decisions, and struggle to perform simultaneous tasks. A well-rested driver is a safer driver.
Better Sleep Results in Improved Health and Decreased Comorbidly Risks
Untreated OSA can cause the following health issues:
- Obesity and weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Chronic nasal congestion
- A narrowed airway
- Heart Disease including Heart attack, Heart arrhythmias, and Heart failure
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
“Lack of oxygen during sleep interferes with memory formation, blood pressure regulation, and weight control. Untreated apnea is associated with increased risk for dementia, stroke or heart attack. In one study, persons with sleep apnea had a 30 percent higher risk of heart attack or death than those without apnea. Some studies have shown an association between sleep deprivation and increased levels of two Alzheimer’s disease-related proteins in the brain (beta amyloid and tau).”– James M. Ellison, MD, MPH; Swank Center for Memory Care and Geriatric Consultation, ChristianaCare
The purpose of this article is not meant to scare or instill fear in those with sleep deficiencies. We just want to stress the very preventable condition sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea is and how research consistently shows that regular adherence to CPAP Therapy will not only improve your health, your mood and your thought process, but your overall quality of life. And that is our goal at Everything CPAP to educate, to train and to encourage our patients to realize the importance of following their physician’s or sleep professional’s recommendations. CPAP Therapy is not just about improving the quality of your sleep, but this is life-extending and life-saving treatment. The CPAP equipment and mask may take some adjustment, and a bit cumbersome in the early weeks, but the initial adjustment period will seem brief in comparison to the long-term risks of untreated sleep apnea.
Our Mission: The owners and employees of Everything CPAP are dedicated to the improvement and extension of our patient’s lives through personalized care, use of state-of-the-art equipment, constant innovation, and clinical research. We strive to make sure our patients receive the care they deserve and the help they need to be successful in treating their sleep apnea.