WESTCHESTER, Ill. – Although continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) controls a husband’s sleep-related obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) symptoms, his treatment adherence is strongly related to his wife sharing the bed, according to a study published in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (JCSM).

The study, authored by Rosalind Cartwright, PhD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, focused on 10 married men with OSA, who slept for two additional nights with their wife, who was not affected with OSA, while both were recorded. The first night included a standard polysomnogram (PSG), or overnight sleep study, without treatment. Following two weeks of home CPAP, the couple returned for a second PSG with the husband on CPAP. During the intervening two weeks, sleep logs were completed daily noting if CPAP was used, the presence of snoring, and where and how well they slept. Adherence data from machine downloads were obtained after an average of 4.6 months.

According to the results, the husband’s adherence to CPAP was unrelated to OSA severity, but positively related to the number of nights the couple slept together during the two weeks of home CPAP.
“The study underlines that OSA affects both partners in married couples, and those that diagnose and treat these patients should therefore see them as a unit and include the spouse (partner) in educating them about this disorder and its treatment,” said Dr. Cartwright. “When the partner is encouraged to sleep with the patient, he is more likely to continue to wear his CPAP mask than if the partner sleeps separately. CPAP will control the snoring noises and excessive movements that disturb the sleep of both of them, and they both will suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness before he is treated. Those who have separated for sleep before the patient was diagnosed and treated should realize that, if she returns to sharing the bed, the chance of his continuing to use this very successful treatment is 60 percent higher than if she sleeps alone.”
OSA is a sleep-related breathing disorder that causes your body to stop breathing during sleep. OSA occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway. This keeps air from getting into the lungs. It is estimated that four percent of men and two percent of women have OSA, and millions more remain undiagnosed.
On average, most adults need seven to eight hours of nightly sleep to feel alert and well-rested.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers the following tips on how to get a good night’s sleep:
  • Follow a consistent bedtime routine.
  • Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
  • Get a full night’s sleep every night.
  • Avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medicine that has a stimulant, prior to bedtime.
  • Do not bring your worries to bed with you.
  • Do not go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a big meal before bedtime either.
  • Avoid any rigorous exercise within six hours of your bedtime.
  • Make your bedroom quiet, dark and a little bit cool.
  • Get up at the same time every morning.
First introduced as a treatment option for sleep apnea in 1981, CPAP is the most common and effective treatment for OSA. CPAP provides a steady stream of pressurized air to patients through a mask that they wear during sleep. This airflow keeps the airway open, preventing the pauses in breathing that characterize sleep apnea and restoring normal oxygen levels.
CPAP Central (www.SleepEducation.com/CPAPCentral), a Web site created by the AASM, provides the public with comprehensive, accurate and reliable information about CPAP. CPAP Central includes expanded information about OSA and CPAP, including how OSA is diagnosed, the function of CPAP, the benefits of CPAP and an overview of what to expect when beginning CPAP, the position of experts on CPAP, and tools for success. CPAP Central also features an interactive slide set that educates the public about the warning signs of OSA. 
Those who think they might have OSA, or another sleep disorder, are urged to consult with their primary care physician or a sleep specialist.
JCSM is the official publication of the AASM. It contains published papers related to the clinical practice of sleep medicine, including original manuscripts such as clinical trials, clinical reviews, clinical commentary and debate, medical economic/practice perspectives, case series and novel/interesting case reports.
More information about OSA is available from the AASM at https://www.SleepEducation.com/Disorder.aspx?id=7.
SleepEducation.com, a patient education Web site created by the AASM, provides information about various sleep disorders, the forms of treatment available, recent news on the topic of sleep, sleep studies that have been conducted and a listing of sleep facilities.
For a copy of this article, entitled, “Sleeping Together: A Pilot Study of the Effects of Shared Sleeping on Adherence to CPAP Treatment in Obstructive Sleep Apnea,” or to arrange an interview with an AASM spokesperson regarding this study, please contact Jim Arcuri, public relations coordinator, at (708) 492-0930, ext. 9317, or jarcuri@aasm.org.
SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies and the world’s largest annual gathering of sleep scientists and sleep medicine professionals, will take place in Baltimore, Maryland, from June 9-12, 2008. SLEEP 2008 will bring together an international body of 5,000 leading researchers and clinicians, who will present and discuss over 1,100 new findings and medical developments related to sleep and sleep disorders. The deadline to register is Friday, May 30, 2008. Contact Jim Arcuri at (708)492-0930, ext. 9317, or jarcuri@aasm.org for more information or to register for a free press pass. More details, including the program schedule and a list of invited lecturers, are available at www.SleepMeeting.org.
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