We conducted a systematic review of current evidence on the effectiveness of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea syndrome (OSAHS). The primary outcomes were subjective sleepiness, using Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and objective sleepiness using Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT) and Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). Mean difference (MD) in endpoints was used to compare CPAP to usual care, placebo and dental devices. The analysis was stratified by symptom and disease severity at baseline. CPAP significantly reduced ESS score compared to control (MD -2.7, 95% CI -3.45, -1.96). The benefit was greatest in patients whose symptoms were severe at baseline: severely symptomatic population (MD -5.0, -6.5, -3.5); moderate (MD -2.3, -3.0, -1.6); mild (MD -1.1, -1.8, -0.3). CPAP significantly improved MWT score compared to control (MD 3.3, 1.3, 5.3) but not on the MSLT. There was no statistically significant difference between CPAP and dental devices on the ESS, MWT or MSLT, in a population with moderate symptoms. There was some evidence of benefit for blood pressure with CPAP compared to control. CPAP is an effective treatment for OSAHS in moderate to severe symptomatic patients and there may be benefits for mild symptoms. Dental devices may be a treatment option for moderate symptoms.