Sticking with a regular bedtime helps people with sleep apnoea stay with their
continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, according to a new
CPAP - which uses mild air pressure to keep airways open during sleep - is
the first line of treatment for sleep apnoea but is not effective unless patients
use it consistently, the Penn State researchers noted.
Their study looked at CPAP adherence among 97 adult sleep apnoea patients.
Adherence was defined as using CPAP for at least four hours per night. Patients
whose bedtime was consistent within 45 minutes every night were much more likely
to use CPAP for at least four hours a night than those whose bedtimes varied by
65 minutes or more.
For every 30-minute increase in bedtime variability, there was a 1.8-times
greater chance that patients would not adhere to their CPAP therapy, according
to the study presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Associated
Professional Sleep Societies, in Baltimore.
After one month of treatment, patients whose bedtime varied by 75 minutes or
more per night were 3.2 times more likely to use CPAP less than four hours per
night, the researchers found.
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and
conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed
"Unlike many other treatments, CPAP treatment adds new complexity to a
person's daily routines," study co-author Amy Sawyer, an assistant professor of
nursing, said in a Penn State news release. She added that CPAP is a learned
behaviour that needs to become a habit.
The next steps include determining ways to help sleep apnoea patients
incorporate CPAP into their regular routine and to identify other factors that
might affect patients' adherence to CPAP therapy, Sawyer said.
The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about continuous
positive airway pressure therapy.
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