CPAP therapy reduces nightmares in veterans with PTSD and sleep apnea

July 8, 2013, American Academy of Sleep Medicine

A new study suggests that CPAP therapy reduces nightmares in veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Results show that the mean number of nightmares per week fell significantly with CPAP use, and reduced nightmare frequency after starting CPAP was best predicted by CPAP compliance.

"Patients with PTSD get more motivated to use CPAP once they get without frequent nightmares, and their compliance improves" said principal investigator Sadeka Tamanna, MD, MPH, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Laboratory at G.V. (Sonny) VA Medical Center in Jackson, Miss.

The research abstract was published recently in an online supplement of the journal Sleep, and Tamanna presented the findings at SLEEP 2013, the 27th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.

The study involved a retrospective review of medical records to identify OSA patients who also carried a PTSD diagnosis and were treated in a VA between May 2011 and May 2012. Mean number of nightmares per week before treatment and up to six months after CPAP prescription were extracted. Treatment compliance was determined from CPAP .

"One out of six veterans suffers from PTSD, which affects their personal, social and productive life," said Tamanna. "Nightmares are one of the major symptoms that affect their daily life, and prevalence of OSA is also high among PTSD patients and can trigger their nightmares."

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that obstructive is a common sleep illness affecting up to seven percent of men and five percent of women. It involves repetitive episodes of complete or partial upper airway obstruction occurring during sleep despite an ongoing effort to breathe. The most effective treatment option for OSA is continuous positive therapy, CPAP, which helps keep the airway open by providing a stream of air through a mask that is worn during .

According to the National Center for PTSD of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD symptoms such as nightmares or flashbacks usually start soon after a traumatic event, but they may not appear until months or years later. Symptoms that last longer than four weeks, cause great distress or interfere with daily life may be a sign of PTSD. To get help for PTSD, veterans can call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text 838255, contact a local VA Medical Center, or use the online PTSD program locator on the VA website.

Explore further: Study shows that bedtime regularity predicts CPAP compliance

More information: "Effect of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy on nightmares in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and obstructive sleep apnea," Sleep, 2013.

Related Stories

Study shows that bedtime regularity predicts CPAP compliance

May 7, 2013
A new study suggests that regularity of bedtime prior to initiation of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is an important factor that may influence treatment compliance in adults with obstructive sleep apnea ...

Stable bedtime helps sleep apnea sufferers adhere to treatment

June 5, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—A consistent bedtime routine is likely key to helping people with obstructive sleep apnea adhere to their prescribed treatment, according to Penn State researchers.

CPAP found to improve sexual function, satisfaction in men with sleep apnea

June 13, 2012
Men who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are seeing another potential benefit from continuous positive airway pressure therapy, or CPAP: improved sexual function and satisfaction in non-diabetic men under age 60.

2.5 hours of patient/therapist contact time increases CPAP use

October 22, 2012
Although continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is often used as therapy for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), patient compliance with CPAP remains an issue.

CPAP improves work productivity for sleep apnea patients

April 10, 2013
Continuous positive airway pressure is effective at increasing work productivity, according to a new study.

Electronic stimulation therapy for obstructive sleep apnea found safe, effective

June 5, 2013
A clinical study has found that electronic stimulation therapy to reduce obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is safe and effective.

Recommended for you

Sleep apnea, congenital heart disease may be deadly mix for hospitalized infants

September 17, 2018
Infants often aren't screened for sleep apnea, but a new study suggests the disorder may be tied to an increased risk of death in infants with congenital heart disease.

Sleep deficiency increases risk of a motor vehicle crash

April 4, 2018
Excessive sleepiness can cause cognitive impairments and put individuals at a higher risk of motor vehicle crash. However, the perception of impairment from excessive sleepiness quickly plateaus in individuals who are chronically ...

Sleep apnea study finds male-female differences in cerebral cortex thickness, symptoms

March 13, 2018
Researchers from the UCLA School of Nursing examined clinical records and magnetic resonance imaging brain scans of patients who were recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, and discovered several apparent connections between ...

Synthetic cannabinoid reduces sleep apnea

November 29, 2017
A synthetic version of a molecule found in the cannabis plant was safe and effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea in the first large, multi-site study of a drug for the sleep disorder funded by the National Institutes ...

Sleeping through the snoring: Researchers identify neurons that rouse the brain to breathe

November 2, 2017
A common and potentially serious sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea affects at least one quarter of U.S. adults and is linked to increased risk of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. In a paper published today ...

Remede system approved for sleep apnea

October 9, 2017
(HealthDay)—The Remede sleep system, an implanted device that treats central sleep apnea by activating a nerve that sends signals to the diaphragm to stimulate breathing, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.