How bad does Angelina Jolie really look first thing in the morning? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so don’t look for any scientific studies on the concept of “beauty sleep.” You could ask Brad Pitt, but he may be biased.
While beauty sleep may be difficult to prove, researchers have been investigating the physiological effects of poor sleep for decades now. Beyond mere insomnia, researchers are particularly concerned with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition where breathing pauses during sleep due to a narrowed or partly blocked airway. Study results have poured in, and at this point, the proper question is what is not affected by poor sleep.
A short list of the well known conditions made better by continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the gold standard therapy for treating OSA, includes: high blood pressure; obesity; organ function.; and blood flow to the brain. Reporter Alice Park in Time Magazine put it this way: “If every one of us slept as much as we’re supposed to, we’d all be lighter, less prone to developing Type 2 diabetes and most likely better equipped to battle depression and anxiety. We might even lower our risk of Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and cancer.”
No matter the age, researchers are finding that CPAP therapy is effective. Previous studies established the benefits of CPAP in middle- aged people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), but until now there has been no research on whether the treatment is useful and cost-effective for older patients.
New research published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine found that CPAP reduces how sleepy patients feel in the daytime and reduces health care costs. Researchers say CPAP should be offered routinely to older patients with OSA, and more should be done to raise awareness of the condition. And by the way, those jet-set retirees should find a light and portable CPAP to take on trips, because consistency is key to good therapy.