How Sleep Apnea Can Cause Insomnia 

Jun 14 2022

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders that impacts adults. While sleep apnea is common, it’s not to be dismissed as innocuous—sleep apnea can be a severe disorder that causes various short- and long-term health complications. One complication of sleep apnea is insomnia. Here’s what you should know about the differences between sleep apnea and insomnia, how sleep apnea can lead to insomnia, and the various treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea

Insomnia vs. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea and insomnia are both sleep disorders. However, they have some distinctions that should be noted.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes the sleeper to stop breathing multiple times throughout the night of sleep. Usually, breathing stops as a result of the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapsing, obstructing the airway. The condition is characterized by snoring, fatigue, nighttime gasping or coughing, headaches, trouble staying asleep, and irritability. 

Insomnia, on the other hand, is a sleep disorder wherein the sufferer has a hard time staying asleep or falling asleep. The condition can be related to physical health conditions, psychiatric conditions, medications, biological factors, the use of certain substances, and poor sleep habits. Symptoms of insomnia include waking up before desired, being unable to fall asleep, anxiety about sleeping, feeling fatigued, and irritability and mood swings. 

How Sleep Apnea Can Lead to Insomnia

While these are two distinct sleep disorders, sleep apnea could lead to insomnia. In fact, research shows that many people who have one condition also have the other.

One way that sleep apnea can lead to insomnia is by the brain creating a safety response by actively inhibiting the person’s ability to fall asleep so as to avoid sleep apnea. Because ceasing to breathe multiple times in the night can also lead to waking up, a person may be unable to fall back asleep and thus experience insomnia. 

Treatment Options for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Fortunately, sleep apnea is treatable. Lifestyle changes and weight loss may help. When these options are ineffective, the use of a CPAP machine or an oral appliance could be very effective. If you are suffering from sleep apnea or insomnia or both, it’s important to talk to your doctor about treatment options.

At Distinctive Dental Solutions, we offer sleep apnea treatment options. To learn more about oral appliances and how we can help, reach out to us today. We are accepting new patients.



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