Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is effective at increasing work productivity, according to a new study.

Previous research has demonstrated that people with sleep apnea are less productive at work, usually due to excessive daytime sleepiness. A new study led by Evangelia Nena, MD, PhD, aimed to assess whether CPAP improved productivity at work.

The researchers used the Endicott Work Productivity Scale, a questionnaire designed to assess productivity at work, and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, a globally accepted questionnaire that assesses daytime sleepiness. Included were 45 patients with sleep apnea of working age (between 40 and 56 years), who completed the questionnaires at the outset and after 3 months of CPAP treatment.

The results showed that 35 of the patients who had good adherence to CPAP treatment showed significant improvement in their productivity at work and in their daytime sleepiness. The 10 patients who did not follow the treatment program had no significant improvement in symptoms or work productivity.

“Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the gold standard treatment for moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea,” said Nena. “Previous research has shown the potential benefits of CPAP to patients’ health and quality of life and our findings add to this body of evidence, demonstrating the advantages the treatment can have on productivity at work.”

“This study underlines the positive benefits of compliant use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment therapy for sleep apnea sufferers,” said Dan Smyth, Sleep Apnoea Europe. “It also confirms that the symptoms of the condition can be controlled and that the patient can remain an effective member of the workforce.”

The study was presented April 11, 2013 at the Sleep and Breathing Conference in Berlin.