Does Sleep Apnea cause insomnia?

This question was asked in Albuquerque, New Mexico on 10/12/2012.
I've been diagnosed with sleep apnea and hopefully will soon be getting a CPAP machine. I have a really huge problem with insomnia. Will a CPAP machine help with insomnia too, or just with the apnea? When I first went in for my sleep study, I only slept for 77 minutes, total. So my sleep doctor gave me a prescription for Ambien to help me with my next sleep study. I have to sleep for at least 120 minutes for my insurance to pay for any CPAP supplies. I'm still worried that I won't be able to sleep, even after I get my machine.

Doctors Answers (3)

Terry M. Himes, DO
Answered on: 10/17/2012

The CPAP Therapy will definitely help you sleep, and treat your Apnea. Without Therapy, your body is waking you up (Your-Insomnia-Diagnosis) because you aren't breathing regularly. I.e. "Wake up, help there is a problem here!"

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 10/15/2012

It is common for sleep apnea to cause insomnia or at least frequent awakenings. The Ambien you have for your next sleep study should work for you. You are now adjusted to the sleep lab process. CPAP therapy often reduces the awakenings and insomnia. If you have difficulty tolerating CPAP I would ask for a prescription for a sleep aide to use for awhile as you adjust to CPAP. There are many sleep aides which can be used for several months if necessary which are not addicting. Taking a sleeping pill is far down on the list of concerns compared to not using your CPAP.

Robert C. Jones, M.D.
Answered on: 10/15/2012

Sometimes Sleep Apnea can mascarade as insomnia and if this is true in your case, then you should be greatly helped by CPAP treatment. If you do truly have both Primary Insomnia and Sleep Apnea, then CPAP therapy will will be a little difficult. You will need to work closely with both a Slee Medicine Specialist and a Psychologist so that both the problems can be handled properly.