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Exercise may help alleviate daytime effects of sleep apnea

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  • Exercise
  • Sleep apnea

American Academy of Sleep Medicine  |  Aug 15, 2012
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A daily trip to the gym can help dampen the daytime misery due to sleep apnea, new research shows. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that a 12-week exercise program helped improve daytime functioning in a small sample of adults with sleep apnea.

The study randomly assigned 43 sedentary and overweight adults with untreated sleep apnea to an aerobic and resistance training program or a low-intensity stretching routine. Subjects in the training group ran on a treadmill for about 40 minutes a day, four days a week. The group also lifted weights twice a week. The exercises were designed to work each major muscle group, and included shoulder and chest press, row, leg and bicep curls and abdominal crunches.

After 12 weeks, the group that participated in the exercise program reported improved daytime functioning. They were less sleepy, less depressed and in a better overall mood. The results are promising, but due to a relatively small sample size further research is needed on the benefits of exercise for patients with untreated sleep apnea.

Even if you don't have sleep apnea, regular exercise can boost your energy, reduce your stress and improve your mood. Exercise can also help slow or prevent health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Some research has also suggested that it can help you sleep better.

1 Comment

  1. 1 Thalia 10 Nov
    I just want to add to the already great arsewns. I, too, set up CPAP machines on patients for sleep apnea. As stated before, having a mask that fits properly and fits your needs is essential to the therapy. If you get set up with a mask that just doesn't seem right, call your DME company back and ask for a different one. Most companies that make the masks have a 30 day mask fit guarantee so if you don't like the mask within the first 30 days, they can be returned. How that works for the patient. . .return it to your DME company, they can give you something different (for free) and return the mask that didn't work for you to the manufacturer for a credit. That way you are only paying for one mask and the DME company is getting reimbursed for one mask. Also, check into a phenomenon called REM rebound . Sometimes patients actually feel worse for a brief period of time when starting CPAP therapy. Basically the reasoning for this is that your body is adjusting to the feeling of REM. Hang in there.. and give it time. The people that are able to get over the hump , swear by it and can't live without it. (my father included!)