Adults suffering from sleep disorders are more likely to develop depression, scientists have claimed.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reveals that the onset of sleep disorders, where patients suffer from paused, irregular or laboured breathing while they sleep, is often followed by instances of depression.
According to the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association, one quarter of the UK population suffers from a sleep disorder.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison analysed the sleeping patterns of 1,408 adults over a 17 year period and kept track of their mental health.
They found that those patients with minimal sleeping disorders were 1.6 times more likely to be depressed than patients without disorders.
Patients with mild sleeping disorders were twice as likely to suffer from depression, while those with moderate or severe disorders were 2.6 times as likely.
Lead author Dr Paul Peppard said that the findings should alert doctors to the heightened possibility of depression in patients suffering from sleep-related breathing disorders.
He commented that the research would "guide screening for depressive symptoms in patient populations with sleep-related breathing disorder, suggest strategies for managing sleep-related breathing disorder–related depression and alert clinicians about the possibility of untreated depression complicating adherence to sleep-related breathing disorder mitigation strategies and treatments".