A continuous positive airway pressure machine, which blows air into the lungs of sleep apnea patients at night, can also help those with pre-diabetes, a new study suggests.

Researchers looked at 39 middle-aged, overweight or obese volunteers with pre-diabetes and sleep apnea. Two-thirds were assigned to two weeks of CPAP treatment, and blood sugar control improved for those using the machine.

“Our study showed that CPAP in patients with prediabetes can lower their risk of progressing to diabetes when CPAP is used for eight hours, a full night’s sleep,” said the study’s lead author, Sushmita Pamidi, MD, a former fellow at the University of Chicago who is now on the faculty at McGill University.

The CPAP group also had lower levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine and lower blood pressure.

Results appeared in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.