A new sleep study has found no association between sleep apnoea and depression.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), also found that people with sleep apneas were more likely to be treated for sleep apniemias.
The researchers also looked at whether the relationship between sleep and depression could be explained by the different types of sleep disorders.
“We found no evidence of a direct relationship between poor sleep quality or poor sleep hygiene, and poor depression,” Dr. Peter Hessler, one of the study’s authors, said in a statement.
The findings support a hypothesis that sleep problems could be linked to the chronic illness.
“People who have problems sleeping are more likely than those who don’t have problems to be depressed,” said lead author, Dr. Stephanie Seltzer, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
Dr. Seltler said her study’s findings could help inform the development of new treatments for depression.
Dr Selter’s study included about 5,000 people, ages 18 to 75, with depression and anorexia nervosa who were taking anti-depressants.
The patients were followed for two years and recorded their sleep, sleep hygiene and depression rates.
The researchers then looked at their sleep patterns to identify any associations between sleep disorders and depression or anxiety.
A key finding of the research was that sleep apnes were more common among people with depression than people with no depression.
The sleep apneumonias, or breathing disorders, include sleep disturbance and breathing difficulties that can include wheezing, difficulty falling asleep, difficulty breathing in deep sleep or difficulties sleeping while driving.
Sleep apnoes are caused by breathing problems caused by obstructions in the airways, such as breathing problems in the chest, lungs or diaphragm.
The people with apnies also had higher rates of depression than those with no depressive disorder, but the difference was not statistically significant.
“It’s important to note that people who are depressed have higher rates than non-depressed people with these conditions,” Dr Seltzler said.
“There’s no evidence that having sleep apnia is a risk factor for depression.”
Dr Siltzer said she hoped her findings would help researchers understand the link between depression and sleep apnos.
“One of the things we’ve found is that there’s some overlap between sleep-related disorders and sleep disturbances, so the sleep disturbances are not just associated with depression, they are associated with sleep problems, which are often associated with stress,” she said.
Sleep problems can be treatable, including medications and psychological therapies.