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CPAP Therapy Can Rejuvenate Sleep for People with Sleep Apnea

Update Date: Sep 14, 2013 10:26 AM EDT

Sleep deprivation can make one's day brutal. People who lose sleep are not as alert, as cognitively sharp or as physically rejuvenated as people who get a good night's rest. On top of that, several studies have found have the sleep deprivation leaves people with an unattractive face in the morning. For the majority of people, there are sleeping remedies that can help them sleep through the night. For people suffering from sleep apnea, treatments are slightly more limited. Fortunately for people with sleep apnea, a study is now reporting that CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy can help people with obstructive sleep apnea. People using CPAP therapy appeared more youthful and attractive the morning after sleep.

"This study showed that independent human raters - both medical personnel and members of the community - can perceive improved alertness, attractiveness, and youthfulness in the appearance of sleepy patients with obstructive sleep apnea, after they have been compliant with use of CPAP at home," said lead author and principal investigator Ronald D. Chervin, MD, MS, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. "These results show that the subjective impression of many clinicians, namely that their patients look more alert and sometimes more youthful after treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, may well be something that can be perceived by many other people."

For this study, the research team recruited 20 adults that suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Due to their condition, they also reported high levels of daytime sleepiness. Before the CPAP therapy, the team took digital photos of their faces. The participants were then instructed to use CPAP therapy for two months at home. Pictures were taken once more after the experiment. The researchers enlisted the help of 22 adults, 12 were medical professionals and 10 were adults from the community, who looked at the before and after pictures side by side. They did not know which ones were taken before or after the experiment. The volunteers were asked to rate the picture's level of attractiveness, youthfulness and alertness.

An average of 68 percent of the raters believed that the post-experiment face was more alert than the pre-therapy face. An average of 67 percent of the raters thought that the post-therapy photo was more attractive than the pre-therapy photo and 64 percent of the raters found that the post-treatment picture was more youthful. The researchers hope that this study can encourage people with obstructive sleep apnea to reconsider using CPAP therapy.

"This may help convince patients to use their CPAP machines on a nightly basis," Chervin said according to Medical Xpress.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

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