insomnia and sleep apnea relation

Insomnia

Insomnia is repeated difficulty with sleep initiation, duration, consolidation, or quality that occurs despite adequate opportunity and circumstances for sleep, and results in some form of daytime impairment.

The signs of insomnia include having trouble falling asleep at the beginning of the night (sleep onset insomnia) and waking in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep (sleep maintenance insomnia).

A physician diagnoses insomnia based on the patient’s subjective description of his/her sleep patterns--not able to fall sleep, not being able to stay asleep. No sleep test is used to determine diagnosis.

Insomnia has traditionally been seen as psychologically-oriented. Treatment includes pharmaceutical drugs, behavioral therapies, psychological therapies or relaxation techniques.

But perhaps your insomnia is not psychological in nature, but a physical condition instead?

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain -- and the rest of the body -- may not get enough oxygen.

There are two types of sleep apnea:

1- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): The more common of the two forms of apnea, it is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.

2- Central sleep apnea: Unlike OSA, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, due to instability in the respiratory control center.

How Prevalent is Sleep Apnea and Insomnia?

In one study, sleep specialist Barry Krakow found that between 80 percent and 90 percent of hypnotic-dependent insomniac patients who had used sedating agents for at least four years and suffered from insomnia for more than 10 years had sleep-disordered breathing.

Even if you don’t show signs of OSA/SRBDs, you still may have one. One study found that 17 of 20 insomniac patients, who did not show signs of SRBDs, were found to have either OSA or UAR.

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