Apnea Foundation

Welcome to the Apnea Foundation, where we are dedicated to advancing sleep apnea research and promoting better sleep for all. As a leading charity organization, we are committed to supporting groundbreaking studies, raising awareness, and providing resources for those affected by sleep apnea and their loved ones. Sleep apnea is a prevalent and often underdiagnosed sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. We believe that everyone deserves a restful night's sleep, and our mission is to fund cutting-edge research to quantify the societal impact of sleep apnea and discover innovative treatments. Together, we can make a lasting impact on the lives of those suffering from sleep apnea. Explore our website to learn more about sleep apnea, current research initiatives, how to get involved, and the many ways you can support our mission. Thank you for joining us in the fight against sleep apnea and for helping us make a difference, one breath at a time. Email us at info@apneafoundation.com

Sleep Apnea in Prisons: An Overlooked Epidemic and its Impact on Crime and Society


Sleep apnea, a sleep disorder characterized by irregular breathing patterns and disrupted sleep, has become a growing public health concern worldwide. Despite the increasing awareness of this condition, there remains a significant gap in research and understanding of sleep apnea amongst prison populations. As the number of incarcerated individuals continues to rise, it is crucial to address this oversight and examine the far-reaching consequences sleep apnea can have on crime, recidivism, and society as a whole.

Consequences of Sleep Apnea on Crime and Recidivism

Sleep apnea has been linked to several cognitive and behavioral issues that can significantly impact the likelihood of criminal activity and recidivism. Some of the key consequences include:

  1. Impaired cognitive function: Disrupted sleep due to sleep apnea can lead to cognitive impairments, such as memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and poor decision-making. These issues may contribute to an increased risk of engaging in criminal behavior.
  2. Emotional dysregulation: Sleep apnea can cause mood swings, irritability, and emotional instability, which may lead to aggression or other forms of criminal behavior.
  3. Increased risk of accidents: Sleep apnea can result in daytime drowsiness and reduced alertness, increasing the likelihood of accidents and involvement in crime due to negligence or impaired judgment.
  4. Recidivism: Inadequate treatment and management of sleep apnea in prisons can contribute to high recidivism rates, as affected individuals struggle to reintegrate into society and maintain stable employment, housing, and relationships.

Societal Impact of Sleep Apnea in Prisons

The consequences of sleep apnea in prisons are not limited to the incarcerated individuals themselves but also extend to broader society. Some of the key societal impacts include:

  1. Financial burden: The high rates of recidivism among individuals with untreated sleep apnea place a significant financial strain on the criminal justice system and taxpayers.
  2. Public health: Untreated sleep apnea can lead to numerous health complications, such as hypertension, heart disease, and stroke, which can place additional burdens on healthcare systems and resources.
  3. Family and community disruption: High rates of recidivism and the inability of those with untreated sleep apnea to reintegrate into society can cause disruptions to families and communities, perpetuating cycles of crime and poverty.

The Prevalence of Sleep Apnea in Prisons

There has been no research conducted that questions if this disorded is significantly more common among incarcerated individuals than in the general population. Inmates likely have a significantly higher incidence of the disorder as opposed to 4-6% in the general adult population. Various factors contribute to this increased prevalence, including:

  1. High rates of obesity: Obesity is a known risk factor for sleep apnea, and incarcerated individuals often experience significant weight gain due to limited physical activity and poor diet options in prison.
  2. Substance abuse: Substance abuse, particularly alcohol and drug dependence, is more common among prison populations and can exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms.
  3. Stress and mental health issues: Prisons are high-stress environments, and incarcerated individuals often have higher rates of mental health disorders, which can negatively impact sleep quality and contribute to sleep apnea.


Sleep apnea in prisons is a severely under-researched and overlooked issue with far-reaching consequences for crime, recidivism, and society as a whole. Addressing this public health crisis requires increased funding for research and innovative solutions to provide effective treatment and support for incarcerated individuals with sleep apnea. Doing so will not only improve the well-being of those directly affected but also contribute to a safer, healthier, and more equitable society.