There’s a reason they call it beauty sleep: for many, a good night’s sleep is important for looking their best. However, for people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), rest is often interrupted at best. But there is good news: continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy can help people with OSA get better quality sleep, and studies suggest that this can also help turn back the clock on your looks.
A recent study from the University of Michigan, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, suggests that the use of CPAP therapy by people with sleep apnea can help to improve physical appearance1. Researchers used facial mapping technology to track the facial characteristics of 20 adults diagnosed with sleep apnea.1 After two months of adherence to positive airway pressure treatment, before and after scans of the patients' faces were shown in random order to an impartial group of assessors.1
The results? The images of the patients after two months of therapy were seen as less puffy and red, and were perceived to appear more alert, more youthful and more attractive.1
While the study was small-scale, these findings are good news for anyone who suffers from sleep apnea, and are especially relevant for people who feel self-conscious about snoozing with their CPAP mask, or worry about potential marks left by their mask. Because let’s face it, who doesn’t want to look good?
As always, it’s important to remember that untreated sleep apnea has serious consequences, with the potential to increase your risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack and stroke.2 For the best health outcomes, stick to your doctor’s advice and adhere strictly to their prescribed therapies.
1 Chervin RD, Ruzicka DL, Vahabzadeh A, Burns MC, Burns JW, Buchman SR. The face of sleepiness: improvement in appearance after treatment of sleep apnea. J Clin Sleep Med. 2013 Sep 15;9(9):845-52. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.2976. PMID: 23997695; PMCID: PMC3746710.
2 National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Sleep Apnea. Online. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-apnea Last accessed: Nov 20, 2020