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39% - 58% of OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) patients have symptoms that coincide with underlying insomnia.
What’s the difference between sleep apnea and insomnia?
The main difference between sleep apnea and insomnia is what is causing your sleep disturbance. Sleep apnea occurs when your breathing is paused or interrupted during sleep because of a repeated cessation or reduction of airflow, causing you to wake up multiple times per night to regain your breath. Due to the nature of sleep apnea, you might be unaware or have no memory of these episodes.
Insomnia, on the other hand, can have a variety of causes. While it’s common to have a night or two of sleeplessness, insomnia occurs over a longer period of time. According to Mayo Clinic, acute insomnia, sleeplessness for a few days or weeks, is usually caused by an outside stressor or traumatic event. Chronic insomnia, sleep disturbances lasting a month or more, can be caused by age, mental illness, diet, poor sleep habits, or certain medications.
How do you know if you may be struggling with insomnia?
Normal Experience on PAP therapy: During the acclimation period, it is normal to note more difficulty with sleep onset, as you adjust to a mask on your face and pressurized air down the airway. It is also normal to wake up in the middle of the night to adjust your mask, and it may be difficult to get back to sleep while you are working through this period on treatment.
Abnormal Experience on PAP (when acclimation is met): Taking longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep after winding down or exhibiting a relaxing nighttime routine. Waking up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, after adjusting to therapy, and being unable to fall back asleep within 15-20 minutes. If you have a history of fragmented sleep or even difficulty falling asleep that occurred for several months of even years, PAP therapy would not be treating these issues and you should consult an Insomnia Specialist for CBTI.