"Snorting, gasping or stopping breathing while asleep (signs of OSA) was associated with nearly all depression symptoms, including feeling hopeless and feeling like a failure," said Anne G. Wheaton, from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who led the study.
"We expected persons with sleep-disordered breathing to report trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, or feeling tired and having little energy, but not the other symptoms," added Wheaton, the journal SLEEP reports.
The study, based on a survey of 9,714 American adults is the first representative sampling to explore this relationship. Previous studies have focused on smaller samples of specific populations, such as people suffering from OSA, depression or other health conditions, according to a CDC statement.
Wheaton, an epidemiologist with CDC, said the likelihood of depression increased with the reported frequency of snorting and / or instances when breathing stopped in the study.
She suggested screening for these disorders in the presence of the other could help address the high prevalence and underdiagnosis of sleep apnea and depression, especially if sleepiness is a chief complaint.