Insomnia and sleep apnea: Making the connection

Insomnia and sleep apnea are closely related – if you’ve got one of them, there’s a decent chance you’ve also got the other.

Insomnia, or the inability to fall and/or stay asleep, is not uncommon; most of us have dealt with it at certain times in our lives. Some of the more well-known causes of insomnia are stress (we can’t sleep if we can’t stop worrying) and stimulants (taking caffeine or certain medications before bed can keep us awake).

But curing insomnia isn’t always quite as simple as avoiding coffee after 5:00 p.m. Like those wondering how to sleep without snoring, people suffering from insomnia may be experiencing the first symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – the regular disruption of sleep caused by partial or blocked breathing.

So how can you tell if your insomnia is caused by everyday stress, or if it’s a symptom of sleep apnea? Start by taking our quick sleep apnea quiz to determine if you have other OSA symptoms such as daytime drowsiness or high blood pressure.

Now, if you still suspect your insomnia is sleep apnea related, it’s time to reach out to your physician for a full sleep apnea diagnosis test.

Insomnia and sleep apnea: How to take charge of your sleep

1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule. Get your body accustomed to sleeping and waking at specific times and you’ll likely find falling asleep (and getting out of bed in the morning) a little easier.

2. Don’t watch TV in bed. If your mind and body associate your bed with sleep, you’ll find it less difficult to drift off. On the other hand, if you spend your time in bed deliberately staying awake, you may pay for it later by being unable to sleep when you really want to.

3. Keep your bedroom comfortable. If you’re too hot or too cold, you may also find it tough to doze off. For ideal sleep conditions, keep your room slightly cool.

4. Relax! A quiet and peaceful environment before bedtime tells your brain it’s time to sleep. Avoid heavy exercise directly before going to bed.

This blog post contains general information about medical conditions and potential treatments. It is not medical advice. If you have any medical questions, please consult your doctor.

Related articles