Insomnia complaints in patients evaluated for obstructive sleep apnea

Suzanne B Krell, Vishesh K Kapur
Sleep & Breathing 2005, 9 (3): 104-10
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and insomnia are among the most common sleep diagnoses encountered in the sleep clinic population, however little is known about potential interactions or associations between the two disorders. This retrospective, cross-sectional study was designed to determine the prevalence of insomnia complaints in patients undergoing evaluation for OSA and to ascertain which clinical and polysomnographic features are associated with insomnia. Of 255 consecutive patients who underwent polysomnography for clinically suspected OSA, 54.9% reported a complaint of insomnia: 33.4% reported difficulty initiating sleep, 38.8% difficulty maintaining sleep, and 31.4% early morning awakenings. Insomnia complaints were noted more commonly in patients without significant sleep-disordered breathing [apnea hypopnea index (AHI)<10; 81.5%] vs those with sleep-disordered breathing (AHI> or =10; 51.8%); p=0.01. Clinical factors associated with insomnia included female gender, psychiatric diagnoses, chronic pain, the absence of regular alcohol use, restless leg symptoms, and reports of nocturnal kicking. Polysomnographic factors associated with insomnia included lower AHI and lower desaturation index (DI). In the subgroup of patients with significant sleep-disordered breathing (AHI> or =10, n=228), there was no association between insomnia complaints and AHI or DI. These results suggest that insomnia is a common complaint in patients being evaluated for OSA, but it is not strongly associated with sleep-disordered breathing and may instead reflect other coexisting factors.

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