Insomnia is not a sleep disorder but rather a symptom of another condition. In some cases, people with sleep apnea report insomnia as part of the range of symptoms they experience. If you’re experiencing chronic insomnia, it’s important to work with your doctor to pinpoint the underlying cause. Here is a look at how insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can occur together and exacerbate each other’s symptoms. 

Understanding Insomnia

Insomnia occurs when you have difficulty sleeping. Some people with insomnia struggle to fall asleep, while other people fall asleep easily but cannot stay asleep. Insomnia can be both caused by and a contributor to a number of different medical conditions. These include depression, anxiety, chronic pain, endocrine diseases, and sleep apnea. Because insomnia is not a sleep disorder but instead indicates that another health problem exists, treatment usually involves addressing the underlying condition. 

Understanding Sleep Apnea

With sleep apnea, the airway becomes restricted in the throat and the person momentarily stops breathing. When someone with sleep apnea falls asleep, his or her airway closes off. Then he or she wakes up to gasp for air before falling asleep again immediately. This repeated cycle can prevent sufferers from getting sufficient rest, resulting in significant daytime drowsiness. But in many cases, they may not be aware they are waking often during the night until a sleep partner tells them. 

When Insomnia and Sleep Apnea Happen Together

Insomnia and sleep apnea frequently happen together. People who fall asleep without issue but wake up in the middle of the night may be waking up because of breathing problems caused by sleep apnea. Many people who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea report episodes of insomnia, especially in the early stages of treatment. Seeing a sleep specialist for an accurate diagnosis—and a treatment plan—is the first step to getting the rest you need.

If you’re experiencing insomnia, Sleep Dynamics can help you get to the root of your problem. Our doctors aim to help you reclaim the rest you need. Contact us at (848) 217-0240 to learn more about getting professional sleep testing in Central New Jersey or to schedule an appointment.