Healthy lifestyle is associated with reduced cardiovascular disease, depression and mortality in people at elevated risk of sleep apnea

Yohannes Adama Melaku, Sarah Appleton, Amy C. Reynolds, Roger L. Milne, Brigid M. Lynch, Danny J. Eckert, Robert Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We assessed: (1) the independent and joint association of obstructive sleep apnea risk and healthy lifestyle with common consequences (excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, cardiovascular disease and stroke) of obstructive sleep apnea; and (2) the effect of healthy lifestyle on survival in people with increased obstructive sleep apnea risk. Data from 13,694 adults (median age 46 years; 50% men) were used for cross-sectional and survival analyses (mortality over 15 years). A healthy lifestyle score with values from 0 (most unhealthy) to 5 (most healthy) was determined based on diet, alcohol intake, physical activity, smoking and body mass index. In the cross-sectional analysis, obstructive sleep apnea risk was positively associated with all chronic conditions and excessive daytime sleepiness in a dose–response manner (p for trend < 0.001). The healthy lifestyle was inversely associated with all chronic conditions (p for trend < 0.001) but not with excessive daytime sleepiness (p for trend = 0.379). Higher healthy lifestyle score was also associated with reduced odds of depression and cardiovascular disease. We found an inverse relationship between healthy lifestyle score with depression (p for trend < 0.001), cardiovascular disease (p for trend = 0.003) and stroke (p for trend = 0.025) among those who had high obstructive sleep apnea risk. In the survival analysis, we found an inverse association between healthy lifestyle and all-cause mortality for all categories of obstructive sleep apnea risk (moderate/high- and high-risk groups [p for trend < 0.001]). This study emphasises the crucial role of a healthy lifestyle in mitigating the effects of obstructive sleep apnea risk in individuals with an elevated obstructive sleep apnea risk.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 22 Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • cardiovascular disease
  • depression
  • excessive daytime sleepiness
  • healthy lifestyle
  • mortality
  • sleep apnea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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