Difference Between Sleep Apnea and Insomnia

In the era of bing watching sessions, high stress at work, reliance on coffee, a good night’s sleep is more important than most people think. Sleep apnea and insomnia are common sleep disorders. Even though we have a basic understanding of what insomnia is, most people are not fully aware about sleep apnea. Among those who know, they perceive insomnia and sleep apnea as quite similar. By the end of this article, you will be able to understand how these two disorders are different in terms of cause, symptoms and treatment.

Causes of Insomnia vs Sleep Apnea

Insomnia is a repeated difficulty in sleep duration, initiation, quality or consolidation despite having adequate circumstances and opportunities for sleep that can lead to daytime impairment. It can stem from both psychological and physical causes. Stress, anxiety, hormonal imbalance, menopause can all lead to insomnia. Physically, alcohol, excessive caffeine, consumption of nicotine or over-the-counter drugs is also some of the prime causes.

Sleep apnea is the condition where person repeatedly wake from sleep due to inadequate flow of oxygen to brain. A part of soft palate collapses and blocks the airflow during sleep. It sends the signal to the brain to tell the body to be awake.

Symptoms of Insomnia Vs Sleep Apnea

Both insomnia and sleep apnea have common symptoms especially in the aftermath of not getting a good night’s sleep like headache, tiredness during the day, feeling drowsy, etc. The most common symptoms of insomnia include waking up at night, difficulty in falling asleep, waking up too early, etc. Sleep apnea is characterized by choking, loud snoring, gasping in sleep. If you have the sleep apnea symptoms, your might have to give sleep apnea test called polysomnogram.

A polysomnogram is test that electronically records the activities during sleep. These recordings are then analyzed by sleep specialist to determine if you have sleep apnea. With over 40 years of experience in industry, Blooms the Chemist are delivering professional services and friendly advice to different communities in Australia.

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Treatment Options in Insomnia and Sleep Apnea

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective treatment for insomnia. It helps to effectively recognize and eliminate behaviors and beliefs that affect sleep. It can involve reducing anxiety before bedtime by breathing exercises or muscle relaxation techniques, reducing activities that causes mind to resist sleep and following consistent sleep habits.

If behavioral therapy does not work, then patients are prescribed medication. This medication should always be taken after consultation from doctor since high dosage or over the counter drugs can actually because more harm than help.

For sleep apnea treatment, similar focus is on changing lifestyle elements. It can include losing weight, reducing tobacco and alcohol consumption, changing sleep habits like learning to sleep on their side as for some people sleep apnea occurs only when they sleep on their backs.

CPAP machines are a prevalent treatment option for people with obstructive sleep apnea. These machines can increase the air pressure in throat and preventing the airway to collapse when you breathe during the sleep.


Both sleep apnea and insomnia are common sleep disorders faced by people today. Educating yourself with their symptoms causes and treatment can be the first step in reclaiming a good night’s sleep.

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