Sleep Apnea and Insomnia: The Connection Between the Two

Adult Sleep Problems, Insomnia, Sleep Apnea

How Sleep Apnea and Insomnia Affect Each Other

Do you have insomnia? There is a strong possibility that your insomnia is caused by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Some people with insomnia have used different treatments to cure their sleep disorder but to no avail.

Insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea are two different sleep disorders that affect millions of people. Insomnia is often characterized by difficulties initiating or remaining asleep, while OSA is the partial or complete blockage your upper airway during sleep resulting in a snoring and repeated pauses in breathing.

In this article, let us understand how insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea are associated with each other.

Sleep Apnea May be the Cause of Insomnia

People who are suffering from insomnia may be experiencing the initial obstructive sleep apnea symptoms. This is the regular disruption of sleep that is caused by a partial or blocked breathing. Between 39 to 58% of patients diagnosed with OSA have insomnia.

For people who have insomnia, waking up starts with their minds racing and the feeling of fear. These racing mind and fear result to anxiety that keeps them from returning to sleep. The study Review of Sleep Studies of Patients with Chronic Insomnia at a Sleep Disorder Unit concluded that patients with chorine insomnia have underlying primary sleep disorders. OSA was found in 35.9% of patients.

Those who are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea during sleep experience increased upper airway collapsibility when awakened by noise or other distraction. These awakenings may cause anxiety to ignite. OSA may cause insomnia by waking up a person several times.

Sleep Apnea and Insomnia Can Result to Daytime Sleepiness

Daytime sleepiness is one of the most common complaints of people who are suffering from these two sleep disorders. People experience sudden excessive sleepiness feel sluggish and drowsy during the day because of insomnia and anxiety to fall asleep. This can interfere with school, work, and other daily activities.

One of the side effects of sleep apnea is the struggle to sleep during sleep and may wake up several times in an hour. These wakeups can interrupt their natural sleep cycles. As a result, these people may not have sufficient or healthy sleep and may feel drowsy the next day. Meanwhile, people with insomnia feel increased pressure to fall asleep which results in daytime sleepiness.

The sleep disorders sleep apnea and insomnia can both result to daytime sleepiness.

Sleep Apnea and Insomnia Patients Cannot Complete the Sleep Cycle

People with sleep apnea and insomnia cannot complete the required sleep hours to get a good night’s sleep making you feel tired after waking up. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, adults should sleep for 7 to 9 hours every night.

Insomnia makes it hard to fall asleep, to stay asleep, and to go back to sleep. On the other hand, obstructive sleep apnea can cause the airway to narrow or close off, resulting in a reduced or stopped breathing for short periods as you sleep.

Once your breathing stops, you may gasp or snort and make restless body movements. Once you stop breathing, the oxygen levels in your blood go down, and your carbon dioxide levels increase. Since OSA disturbs your sleep, it makes you feel very tired after waking up.

Although these are two different sleep disorders, insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea are connected to each other because of its causes and effects. If you suspect that your insomnia is sleep apnea related, reach out to a medical professional or a dentist specializing in sleep disorder to get a full sleep apnea test and sleep apnea treatment.

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