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Sleep Apnea Vs. Insomnia

Dr Martin Abelar - June 30, 2023 - 0 comments

Apples or oranges. Hot or cold. Sometimes it’s easy to know the difference between two things, but sometimes it’s simply not. Take for example sleep apnea versus insomnia. Though on paper the two appear starkly different, the similarities can often be confusing in real life.

If you’re concerned you could have sleep apnea or insomnia, it pays to know the differences. Here’s what you need to know about the differences between sleep apnea and insomnia.


What is Sleep Apnea?


Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when the airway becomes obstructed. Though it most commonly occurs in overweight people over the age of 50, it can occur in any person at any age. 

Sleep apnea symptoms include frequent waking throughout the night, struggling to breathe, gasping for air, snoring, and low blood-oxygen levels. It can cause a whole list of dangerous diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease, and can worsen those illnesses and others, including cancer and depression. It can also cause cognitive impairment during the day.




Persons with insomnia struggle to fall and stay asleep during the night, frequently waking. Insomnia can cause depression, cognitive impairment, and even increase your risk of substance abuse.


Diagnosing The Differences


Unfortunately, sleep apnea can often be hard to self-diagnose, because you are asleep when the majority of the symptoms occur. In fact, many people don’t even remember waking up during the night.


For those that do remember waking and struggle to return to sleep, sleep apnea can definitely look a lot like insomnia. But the differences can be staggering.


Whether you suffer from frequent waking or simply cannot fall asleep at night, a proper diagnosis should occur via a sleep study at a certified sleep clinic. While some sleep tests require you to spend the night at a sleep clinic, other testing can be done at home with a borrowed monitor. Your doctor can determine which scenario is best for you.


The Benefits of Diagnosis


Whether you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea or insomnia, the benefits are clear. A restful night’s sleep, improvements to your physical and mental health, and more, can all occur when you treat your sleep disorder. Better still, Dr. Abelar can help you get a comfortable night’s sleep with the use of a sleep orthotic that props the airway open naturally.

To learn more about sleep solutions from Dr. Abelar, please contact the office today!

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