Insomnia is a sleep disorder where an individual either has trouble falling asleep or difficulty staying asleep. It can last anywhere from one night to several weeks, and could turn into a chronic condition.
You brain goes through cycles that include a sleep cycle and a wake cycle. One is usually turned on while the other is turned off. A problem within either part of this cycle (too much wake drive or too little sleep drive) can cause insomnia. Recently, researchers have even thought of insomnia as a problem of the brain being unable to stop being awake. In any case, it is one of the reasons you may awaken in the middle of the night.
One of the causes of insomnia could be obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common type of sleep apnea. This is a sleep disorder where breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep, generally with a breathing pause lasting approximately 10 seconds. OSA occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open. Another, rarer form of sleep apnea is central sleep apnea (CSA) in which the brain fails to properly control breathing during sleep.
Sleep apnea can cause fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels, and the combination of the disturbed sleep with oxygen starvation may lead to hypertension, heart disease, and mood and memory problems. It can also increase the risk of drowsy driving.
If you experience difficulty staying asleep or insomnia, get help from the doctors at Airway & Sleep Group. There are treatments available.