Sleep apnea sufferers advised to keep bedrooms dark

Sleep apnea sufferers should make their bedrooms as dark as possible at night in order to reduce the risk of depression, a study has suggested.

Researchers from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre made this suggestion after an experiment which involved placing mice in sleep apnea-like conditions.

According to dispatch.com, the mice who were made to sleep in a dimly lit environment were far more likely to show symptoms of depression than rodents who slept in the dark. The researchers have pledged to further studies to confirm fears that this could also be true of humans.

The study could be of interest both to professional counsellors and those on counselling courses, as these individuals are regularly on the lookout for new links to symptoms of anxiety and depression.

In an interview with medicalxpress.com, the study's lead author explained: "Not only were these changes observed during field and maze tests, but we also recorded physical changes, including a reduction of cell size in the hippocampus, an area of the brain important in memory and spatial navigation.

"The combination of dim light exposure and sleep apnea appears to result in increased depressive and anxiety-like behaviours in mice, so limiting exposure to light at night could be a very simple strategy to help patients with sleep apnea."