Insomnia vs. Sleep Apnea: Is There a Link between the Two?

February 15, 2023

Adults should be getting at least 7 hours, but not more than 9 hours of sleep every night. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen because millions of Americans suffer from sleep disorders.

Sleep disorders are conditions that impact sleep quality. Two of the most common sleep disorders are insomnia and sleep apnea. These conditions can affect both mental and physical health, as well as the overall quality of life.

Low sleep quality can cause anxiety, depression, irritability, and moodiness, just to name a few. You may struggle with concentration and focus, which can cause issues at work and at home. Chronic sleepiness may also cause vehicle crashes and other accidents that could injure or kill you or others. Additionally, sleep disorders may also lead to chronic health issues including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

If you are struggling with a sleep disorder and are located in Oviedo, FL, the professionals at Innovative dental and orthodontics can help. Dr. Amit Kamat and the team can help you determine the cause of your sleep disorder and the best course of treatment.

In this article, we’ll explain more about the two most common sleep disorders: obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

There are two types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. It is a condition characterized by blockage of the upper airway while sleeping. This causes your breathing to become shallow or stop. Most people who have obstructive sleep apnea snore.

These interruptions in breathing cause your body to wake throughout the night, making you feel sleepy the next day.

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a condition characterized by difficulty falling/staying asleep. Various health issues, such as anxiety/depression, or environmental factors, such as excessive noise, an uncomfortable bed, or other reasons may cause it.

The symptoms of insomnia include frequently waking throughout the night, lying awake unable to fall asleep, and inability to go back to sleep once awake. Acute insomnia lasts 3 months or less. If it lasts longer than 3 months, it’s considered chronic.

The Connection between the Two

While it is possible to have both conditions, it’s important to note that insomnia does not cause sleep apnea- but sleep apnea can cause insomnia.

How Do Doctors Determine Which Condition You Have?

In order to diagnose your condition, there are several things that we will consider:


First, we will rule out other conditions by asking you to document your nighttime routine for 1 to 2 weeks. You will be asked to take note of the following:

  • How long it typically takes to fall asleep
  • Wakeful episodes throughout the night:
    • How many
    • How long
  • What time do you wake up and start your day
  • Overall sleep quality rating

Sleep Apnea

If it is suspected that you have sleep apnea, a sleep study will be recommended to find out how often and how long your breathing is interrupted. You’ll spend the night in a healthcare facility where you will be hooked up to equipment that monitors your brain, heart, and lung activity, your oxygen levels, your movements, and your breathing patterns while you sleep.

Can you have both?

Some of our patients have both conditions because sleep apnea may trigger anxiety, which causes acute insomnia.

Each condition has different diagnostic criteria and treatment options. The professionals at innovative dental and have the experience and expertise to diagnose your situation and help you get the restful sleep you need.

When Should You See a Doctor?

If you’re not getting enough sleep, you may suffer from various other issues. If any of the following apply to you, it’s important that you see a sleep specialist as soon as possible to get to the bottom of the problem:

  • Chronic insomnia: difficulty sleeping for more than 3 months
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Falling asleep at unusual times (narcolepsy)
  • Snoring while sleeping
  • Problems sleeping despite good sleep practices
  • Restless leg syndrome: aches/pains in lower legs that make it difficult to fall asleep
  • Sleeping too much: sleeping more than 9 hours on weekends or vacations could indicate sleep deprivation

CPAP Machine To The Rescue

If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, most sleep specialists will recommend a CPAP machine. While these can be effective for some patients, they can also cause difficulty sleeping because they can be uncomfortable. Research shows that approximately 50% of CPAP users stop using it after one year.

At Innovative Dental and Orthodontics, we offer an alternative to CPAP machines, This involves using a custom-made oral appliance designed to hold your jaw in a position that will prevent obstructive sleep apnea.

There are several advantages of this option, including the following:

  • Eliminates snoring
  • Improves sleep quality and energy
  • Reduces blood pressure, depression, daytime sleepiness, and risk of cardiovascular mortality
  • Improves driving performance
  • Prolongs life

Approximately 93% of patients continue to use their oral appliances, and 81% prefer their custom-made oral appliance over the CPAP mask.


If you are having difficulty sleeping, schedule your consultation with Dr. Amit Kamet and the team at innovative dental and orthodontics. We can help you determine the cause of your sleep problems and the best course of treatment.

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