The Effectiveness of Training the Components of Compassion-Focused Therapy on Memory, Anxiety, and Sleep Quality in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common and debilitating sleep disorder with both mental and physical complications. Although medical treatments may improve OSA symptoms, they may not affect its mental sequelae. Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of training the components of compassion-focused therapy (CFT) on sleep quality, anxiety, and memory in patients with OSA. Methods: This experimental study was performed on 37 patients (18 to 65 years old) with confirmed OSA diagnosed in the past year with a minimum apnea index score of 5 and no history of medical or psychiatric diseases. The study was conducted between 2022 and 2023. Exclusion criteria were being absent from more than two training sessions, experiencing stressful events, and refusing to continue the study. The intervention group (n = 19) received the training component of CFT in 8 sessions (once a week), while the control group received no psychological intervention. The Pittsburg sleep quality index (PSQI), Rey Auditory-Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), Rey-Osterrieth complex figure (ROCF), and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), as well as a demographic information questionnaire, were filled out by the participants at the baseline and after the intervention. Results: There was no significant difference between the groups in terms of demographic variables. The training component of CFT was effective in reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality, as well as the auditory-verbal and visual-spatial components of short-term memory in patients with OSA (P < 0.05). Conclusions: The training component of CFT was efficient and beneficial in reducing anxiety and improving immediate memory and sleep quality in patients with OSA.