Sleep Apnea and Insomnia

Insomnia—characterized by difficulties initiating or remaining asleep throughout the night—and sleep apnea—characterized by complete or partial reduction in breathing during sleep—are the two most common sleep disorders, and each is associated with great impairment to daytime functioning and quality of life. However, these two debilitating conditions also frequently co-occur within the same patient?

A recent research study found that 30% to 70% of insomnia patients also suffer from sleep apnea and 40% to 60% of sleep apnea patients report significant insomnia symptoms.

The 40% to 60% of obstructive sleep apnea patients have insomnia, and many of these patients also report fatigue, non-restorative sleep and difficulty in concentrating.

It’s estimated that of insomniacs with middle of the night awakenings, 90-100% have a sleep breathing disorder.

There is clear evidence that patients with sleep apnea are at increased risk for chronic insomnia, and patients with insomnia suffer elevated rates of sleep disordered breathing.

While many people with insomnia have narrow upper air passageways, especially behind the tongue. Patients may have a condition called upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS).

Dr. Nugent’s message to patients is: if you are an insomniac who wakes during the night, you should ask your doctor to rule out obstructive sleep apnea as a possible cause of your sleep problems.

Insomnia in brief periods is normal; but when it becomes consistent, it can take a toll on your overall well-being and potentially causing:

  • Depression
  • Mood disorders
  • Irritability
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired work or school performance
  • Binge eating and other eating disorders
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Substance Abuse

what is sleep apnea

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