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The Sleep/Depression Link
Apnea's Affects

A Cross-Sectional Study


Researchers publishing in the BMC Public Health journal studied the link between sleep apnea and depression. Ill health effects due to sleep apnea include inflammation and metabolic disruption and disease. Via over 9,800 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) participants, self reported apnea and depressive symptoms were obtained. Among the findings:

  • Those with sleep apnea were 1.36-fold more likely to experience symptoms of depression
  • Among women with sleep apnea, depressive disorders were more likely during late pregnancy
  • In women who had never before been depressed, sleep apnea increased depressive symptoms
  • In women who had experienced depression, sleep apnea exacerbated depressive symptoms


Despite limitations—researchers couldn’t obtain a result with causality, polysomnography would have been preferred to self reports of apnea, and DSM-V criteria would have been preferred to the PHQ-9—conclusions included, “…adults with sleep apnea in the US have a relatively high prevalence of depressive symptoms. The severity of sleep apnea positively correlated with depressive symptoms. Thus, screening for depression is important for the sleep apnea patient population, as further evaluation and treatment for sleep apnea may ameliorate the depressive symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life.”


For more information on sleep, the BRAIN & PAIN Summit will feature these courses:

  • Narcolepsy: What Lies Beneath
  • Things That Go Bump in the Night
  • Sleep as Intervention for Neurological Conditions & Psych Disorders
  • Where is the Sandman?: Addressing Sleep & Chronic Pain


For the agenda, click here! [Courses and faculty subject to change.]