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Sleeping pills not working? Maybe you don’t have insomnia after all

Nearly 2 years ago I reported on a small study that found 90% of insomnia sufferers experienced an abnormal sleep breathing event immediately before waking.

Now, a larger study has found that those who find sleeping pills have little effect on their insomnia may actually be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

This latest study involved 1,210 individuals with insomnia. Of these, an incredible 899 individuals were taking either over the counter or prescription sleeping pills but were not seeing any improvement in their symptoms.

Researchers found that as many as 90% of those objectively tested met the standard criteria for a moderate to severe sleep-associated breathing disorder.

This is a particularly important finding since the typical medical response to sleeping pill failure (increasing the dose) can actually increase airway obstruction and reduce sleep quality.

Although researchers still haven't identified a defined relationship between insomnia and sleep-disordered breathing, if sleeping pills aren't working for you it may be worth looking into whether sleep apnea could be to blame (this is normally diagnosed through a sleep study).

Source: Mayo Clinic Proceedings

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Last updated: December 10, 2014

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

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