What Is The Difference Between Insomnia And Sleep Apnea?

Many people ask themselves if there is a difference between Insomnia and sleep apnea. If you are one of the countless people who have one of these sleeping disorders, you may have this question on your mind, “What is the difference between insomnia and sleep apnea?”

Before we answer this question, let us first define both of these conditions.


Insomnia by definition is inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. There are actually 3 types of insomnia.

Here are those 3 types:

1. Transient Insomnia

  • Transient insomnia can affect a person for as long as a number of days to a number of weeks.

2. Acute Insomnia

  • Acute insomnia is the inability to consistently sleep from 3 weeks to 6 months.

3. Chronic Insomnia

  • Chronic insomnia is the most severe of all types.
  • This type of insomnia can last for years.

Insomnia can be caused by a number of factors. These factors include the use of various forms of medications, psychological disorders, physical disorders, and sleeping disorders.

Treatment for this sleeping disorder varies depending on the cause. It is important to properly determine the cause, before treatment can take place. Popular methods of treatment for this disorder are prescription drugs.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea by definition is pauses in breathing while sleeping. It is caused by obstructions in the airway, or by the inability of the brain to regulate breathing. There are 3 types of this sleeping disorder.

Here are those 3 types:

1. Central Sleep Apnea

  • Central sleep apnea is the brain’s inability to regulate breathing patterns during sleep.
  • This causes pauses in breathing.

2. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

  • Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by obstructions in the airway.
  • The over relaxing of the muscles in the airway, certain physical features, and obesity are the major causes of this type of sleep apnea.

3. Complex Sleep Apnea

  • Complex sleep apnea is a combination of both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.

The Difference

The difference between insomnia and sleep apnea is that insomnia affects people by not enabling them to sleep, and sleep apnea disrupts the breathing pattern and causes pauses in breathing during sleep.

It is highly possible to have insomnia and at the same time sleep apnea. However, if you have both conditions, it is most likely that sleep apnea is the cause behind insomnia.

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