Why Family Support Is So Important For People With This Sleep Disorder

A good support system is important for virtually all facets of life -- and sleep is no exception.

A new study shows that for people with obstructive sleep apnea, family support seems to be a factor in adherence to CPAP therapy. CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure, is considered the gold standard for treating the sleep disorder.

The study -- the abstract of which was published in the journal SLEEP (the full results will be presented at the SLEEP 2014 conference) -- included 253 people with obstructive sleep apnea. The study participants were asked to give information on relationship status and family relationship quality, and the researchers also took note of the participants’ treatment adherence to CPAP therapy (indicated by the average number of hours CPAP was used a night over a three-month follow-up period).

The researchers found an association between being married or living with a partner, and increased adherence to CPAP, compared with single people. They also found an association between family relationship quality and CPAP adherence.

This isn’t the first time marital status has been associated with CPAP adherence. In 2011, a PLOS ONE study showed that people living alone have a higher risk of not adhering to CPAP therapy, compared with people who are married. That study also showed an association between employment and CPAP adherence, with employed adults being more likely to not adhere to CPAP therapy compared with retired people.