[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
The 12 million Americans with sleep apnea stop breathing for short periods during the night, sometimes hundreds of times. Now a new study finds that a good motivator for some apnea sufferers to get treatment could be improved athletic performance. Because golfers with obstructive apnea who regularly used the machine that keeps them breathing lowered their handicap by up to three strokes.
The study was presented at CHEST 2009, the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians.
Twelve golfers with apnea received nasal positive airway pressure treatment, or NPAP. The researchers kept track of the subjects’ daytime tiredness, sleep and golf scores over 20 rounds. And handicaps improved by an average of a stroke and a half per round. With the better golfers going in showing the most improvement. The scores on the medical tests also got better. A control group didn’t improve their game or their sleep.
The researchers hope that lower golf scores can be something that motivates some apnea patients to comply with their treatment more. Because dropping three strokes is a sleepy golfer’s dream.