The Brain May Play a Role in Sleepiness After Treatment for Sleep Apnea

A recent article published in the journal Sleep Review explores why some people with sleep apnea may still experience sleepiness after treatment, and suggests that it may be linked to changes in the brain. For a much more detailed account, you can read the source article here, at Sleep Review’s website.

About Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the upper airway is repeatedly blocked during sleep, causing a lack of airflow. Central sleep apnea may occur if the brain doesn’t prompt the body to breathe. Sleep apnea can be caused by a wide range of factors, including neuromuscular disorders, endocrine disorders, heart of kidney failure, and some genetic syndromes, amongst others. It is a relatively common condition in the US.

Sleep apnea can cause sleep to be regularly interrupted, and the condition can significantly impact peoples’ quality of life, as well as increase the risk of complications such as heart attach, cancer, and other conditions.

Some people treat sleep apnea using lifestyle changes and/or breathing devices called continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machines.

This information was sourced from the NIH website, and you can read more about it here.

Sleepiness After CPAP Treatment

According to the source article from Sleep Review, some people with sleep apnea find that the condition is significantly improved through the use of a CPAP. However, others report still feeling sleepy despite following treatment plans. At the moment it isn’t clear how many people continue to experience sleepiness after treatment, with estimates ranging from around 10% to 34%.
As the article in the Sleep Review outlines, the reasons why some patients respond better than others to CPAP treatment are poorly understood. However, some research suggests that it may be linked to changes in the brain. Studies (here and here) using mouse models of obstructive sleep apnea suggests that, even after oxygen conditions return to normal, mice may continue to be sleepy and sleep for longer, and this may be associated with changes in areas of the brain such as the brainstem and basal forebrain, and potentially also neuronal damage.

To read more about research into this area, you can view the original article at the Sleep Review by clicking here.

Anna Hewitt

Anna Hewitt

Anna is from England and recently finished her undergraduate degree. She has an interest in medicine and enjoys writing. In her spare time she likes to cook, hike, and hang out with cats.

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