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  • Writer's pictureJames Waring

Coping with depression and sleep apnea

People with sleep apnea may have difficulty sleeping and are likelier to feel down than those without it. One study said that people with sleep apnea have three times the chance of feeling depressed than those without it.[1] But you can break this cycle by using CPAP to treat your sleep apnea. Read more to find out how.

Photo by Dmtry Schemelev

Sleep apnea and depression are linked

Depression is a type of mental health issue. People who have it feel very sad, don't enjoy activities or have little energy. It can change how you think, act, and feel. It can even make it hard to do everyday tasks, like getting out of bed or concentrating. It can also cause physical issues like tiredness, headaches, and not being able to focus.

Depression can happen if you don't get enough restful sleep caused by sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can make you tired, grumpy, and feel bad both physically and mentally. Studies have shown that sleep apnea and depression are connected. In one study, out of 400 people with sleep apnea, over half of the sample (104 men and 152 women) self-reported depression.[2]

Reports suggest that up to half of the people with sleep apnea experience some depressive symptoms.[3]

People with sleep apnea may feel tired and exhausted during the day. They may have trouble concentrating, eating, and being interested in sex. This can cause further depression. Not getting enough sleep because of sleep apnea can make it harder to deal with depression, which is like a never-ending cycle.

Treating sleep apnea can help with depression

Studies show that treating sleep apnea can help protect you from getting depression. For instance, CPAP treatment can make a difference in how you feel in just two months.[4] Using CPAP helps in many ways, like getting better sleep, more oxygen, and feeling better in general.

Treating sleep apnea can make your sleep better. It can help reduce feeling tired and sad caused by depression. CPAP can also help your body get more oxygen. Oxygen is important for mental health and well-being. Finally, treating sleep apnea can help you be healthier, which can help you stay away from depression.


  1. Sharafkhaneh A et al. Association of psychiatric disorders and sleep apnea in a large cohort. Sleep 2005.

  2. Shapiro C et al. CPAP adherence: factors and perspectives. Springer 2022.

  3. Harris M et al. Obstructive sleep apnea and depression. Sleep Med Rev 2009.

  4. Habukawa M et al. Effect of CPAP treatment on residual depressive symptoms in patients with major depression and coexisting sleep apnea: contribution of daytime sleepiness to residual depressive symptoms. Sleep Med 2010.


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