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What Is the Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and Insomnia?

Submitted by New Jersey Snoring Solutions on Wed 07/27/2011 - 10:10

What is the relationship between sleep apnea and insomnia? Both sleep apnea and insomnia are types of sleep disorders but one does not cause the other. Sleep apnea consists of abnormal pauses in breathing during the night. Apnea refers to these pauses in breathing that linger from a few seconds to a few minutes. They happen from five to 30 times an hour. Sufferers who awaken from these occurrences may believe they have insomnia. However, insomnia is caused by very different reasons.

The causes of insomnia generally preclude sleep apnea. There are several causes of insomnia. Stress can keep you up at night. Thoughts of work, school, health or family may disturb your sleep. Free-floating anxiety can also cause a restless night. Depression, due to a chemical brain imbalance or worries about everyday concerns, may also cause insomnia. Medications, whether over-the-counter painkillers or prescribed antidepressants, often contain caffeine and other stimulants which keep you awake. Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol contain stimulants that keep you awake. Although alcohol may initially put you to sleep, it does not provide deeper stages of sleep and may not allow sleep through the night. Other medical conditions that cause insomnia include cancer, heart failure, lung disease, arthritis, overactive stroke, Parkinson disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Secondary insomnia is often caused by another sleep disorder as well as the neurological, emotional and medical disorders outlined above. Restless legs syndrome may cause insomnia. However, sleep apnea is another ball of wax. It has psychological and behavioral effects on the patient which can impair one’s cognition and hinder daytime activities such as driving and working.

If you experience any sleep disorders, call New Jersey Sleep Apnea Solutions for a free consultation at 1-855-WHY-SNORE. We help patients throughout New Jersey including West Orange, Livingston, Millburn, and Short Hills sleep apnea patients.