October 17, 2014
One of the most common sleep disorders is insomnia and according to a recent report published in the Journal Sleep, it may be linked to sleep apnea. Researchers in Albuquerque interviewed 20 men and women with chronic insomnia, all of whom denied having any sleep breathing disorders. The researchers found that chronic insomniacs woke on average 30 times a night. Hypoxia or a brief drop in the volume of oxygen inhaled caused by a narrowed airway closely followed 90 percent of those interruptions.
In the study, sleep researchers asked participants about their causes of their nightly awakenings. Surprisingly, none of the participants mentioned breathing as a reason for their awakening. Of the most popular responses were racing minds, nightmares, a need for the bathroom and pain.
However, after analyzing their sleep, it became clear that their awakenings were triggered by a respiratory event. Each participant underwent a polysomnography test while spending a night at a sleep clinic. Using wired sensors that tracked brain waves and breathing, researchers and lab technicians were able to chart and monitor every awakening, when brain waves shifted to a waking state for at least 16 seconds, and every breathing issue causing oxygen intake to dip well below normal.