Insomnia and sleep apnea are two separate conditions - insomnia relates to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, whilst sleep apnea is a condition whereby your breathing abnormally pauses during the night.
A recent study now suggests that many cases of insomnia could actually be caused by sleep apnea.
The latest research was conducted by the Sleep and Human Health Institute (SHHI) in Albuquerque, NM. They looked at 20 individuals with insomnia who claimed that they did not suffer from any of the symptoms normally associated with sleep disordered breathing.
The individuals in the study claimed they woke during the night due to nightmares, stress, trips to the bathroom, physical discomfort, anxiety, worries, racing thoughts or other unknown reasons.
When tested, it was found that 90% of these individuals experienced an abnormal sleep breathing event immediately before waking. Only 10% woke due to factors unrelated to their breathing.
It would appear that breathing plays an even bigger role when it comes to our sleep health - and insomnia - than previously thought.
Yet another reason why long term sleep disorders should never be ignored.
Last updated: January 17, 2013