Harvard Mental Health Letter

Beating the blues by treating sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea and depression: Treating the sleep problem may boost mood.

About one in five people with depression also suffers from a sleep-related breathing disorder, most often obstructive sleep apnea. What's more, a large European study has reported that people diagnosed with depression were about five times as likely as people without depression to have a sleep-related breathing disorder.

Researchers debate which comes first, the sleep problem or the depression. But in terms of treatment, it doesn't matter. What may matter is treating the sleep problem, because research suggests that treatment for obstructive sleep apnea can help to alleviate depression in some people.

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