Effect of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure on Symptoms and Prevalence of Insomnia in Patients With Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Longitudinal Study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionFrontiers in Psychology. 2021, 12, 691495 . 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.691495
Objective: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and insomnia are the two most common sleep disorders. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is considered first-line treatment for OSA. In the present study, we assess the effect of CPAP on symptoms and prevalence of insomnia in patients with OSA. We hypothesized a decrease in insomnia symptoms from CPAP initiation to follow-up, and that this decrease would depend on CPAP adherence. Materials and methods: The sample included 442 patients diagnosed with OSA [mean age 54.9 years (SD = 12.1), 74.4% males] who started treatment with CPAP at a university hospital. OSA was diagnosed according to standard respiratory polygraphy. Mean apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) was 30.1 (SD = 21.1) at baseline. Insomnia was assessed prior to CPAP treatment (baseline) and at follow-up after a median of 19.9 weeks (range 6–52 weeks) with the Bergen Insomnia Scale (BIS). CPAP adherence was defined as an average use of ≥ 4 h per night, whereas non-adherence was defined as < 4 h per night. Results: There was a significant decrease in BIS scores from baseline (mean = 18.8, SD = 9.8) to follow-up (mean = 12.9, SD = 9.9), p < 0.001. Cohen’s d(0.65) indicated a moderate effect size. The reduction in BIS scores was depending on CPAP adherence (interaction effect F(1,440) = 12.4, p < 0.001), with larger reduction in the adherent group than in the non-adherent group. The proportion of patients with chronic insomnia was significantly reduced from 51.1% at baseline to 33.0% at follow-up (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Overall, there was a significant reduction in insomnia symptoms from baseline to follow-up. The improvement was significant in both adherence groups, but the degree of improvement was larger among patients who were adherent to CPAP. Furthermore, there was a significant reduction in the prevalence of chronic insomnia at follow-up compared to baseline. This suggests that CPAP effectively reduces both the presence of insomnia and the severity of insomnia symptoms in some patients with OSA.