Exercise improves sleep quality, yet people with untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may engage in less physical activity (PA) due to fatigue and daytime sleepiness. We examined changes in PA and sleep quality before and after treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in OSA patients.
In this prospective longitudinal study, persons with a primary diagnosis of OSA were enrolled at a community-based hospital in New York City. At 3 time intervals pre- and post-CPAP (3–8 months), we measured sleep quality using validated questionnaires, perceived PA using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), and actual PA using pedometer steps per day. We sought to investigate how CPAP use and changes in sleep quality impacted the number of steps taken, as recorded in pedometer steps.
In total, 62 patients were enrolled in the study from March 2012 to July 2014. In all, patients averaged 53 years of age, and 26 patients (42%) were female. Among all participants, 86% of persons had moderate to severe sleep apnea (AHI ≥15). Approximately 73% of participants were compliant with CPAP use. Poor sleep quality correlated with lower actual PA (P = .004) at baseline. At 3 and 7 months, there was significant improvement in sleep quality (Δ –2.63 ± 3.4 and Δ –3.5 ± 3.8; P < .001) and actual PA (Δ 840 ± 1313 and Δ 1431 ± 1419 steps/day, P < .001) compared with baseline. On multivariate analyses, participants with a higher waist circumference had a significantly greater increase in actual PA (P = .018).
Treatment of OSA with CPAP had a progressive incremental improvement in sleep quality and actual PA.