Depression is an increasingly common problem all across the world, and experts are just now beginning to understand the way in which it interacts with sleep apnoea.

The two come with very similar symptoms – aside from general tiredness during the day, an inability to concentrate and a lack of pleasure in things you once enjoyed are both common effects of both depression and the lack of rest caused by sleep apnoea.

The link is more pronounced when people suffer from a full-blown case of insomnia – where they either cannot fall asleep or stay asleep – but the constant waking caused by sleep apnoea is also problematic. In fact, it can be far more frustrating since so many sufferers are unaware that they have sleep apnoea in the first place.


Sleep experts have acknowledged that sleep apnoea can cause depression – with some even arguing that all depressed people should participate in sleep studies to see if sleep apnoea is the root cause. Numerous pieces of research have backed them up. One research team studied 18,980 participants, and found that people with depression were five times as likely to suffer from a breathing related sleep disorder, with obstructive sleep apnoea being by far the most common.

Luckily, that same study also demonstrated that using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine reduced those people’s symptoms of depression – a further study conducted over a whole year demonstrated that those effects were both significant and long-lasting.

young woman trying to shut out the sound of her husband snoring

This is one of the reasons why it’s so important for anyone who thinks they may be suffering from sleep apnoea to arrange a sleep test at their earliest convenience. Depression comes with a number of serious mental and physical health effects, including:

  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Lack of interest in daily activities
  • Dramatic weight change
  • Poor temper
  • Loss of energy
  • Pronounced feelings of self-hatred

Given that these problems could all be caused by sleep apnoea, and quickly reduced by wearing a CPAP machine at night, it only makes sense to take part in a sleep study. You won’t just feel better about yourself, you’ll also feel more awake and more full of energy than you have in years.