Prevalence of sleep breathing complaints reported by treatment-seeking chronic insomnia disorder patients on presentation to a sleep medical center: a preliminary report

Barry Krakow, Victor A Ulibarri
Sleep & Breathing 2013, 17 (1): 317-22

PURPOSE: Few studies have examined the co-morbidity between insomnia and sleep-disordered breathing in the clinical setting. This study evaluated treatment-seeking insomnia patients and their self-report of sleep breathing complaints.

METHODS: A retrospective chart review was conducted on 1,035 consecutive treatment-seeking, chronic insomnia patients who reported insomnia as their primary problem upon seeking care at a private, community-based sleep medical center. Measurements included the insomnia severity index, standard subjective sleep measures as well as rankings, attributions, and self-reports about sleep breathing disorders, problems, and symptoms.

RESULTS: A total of 1,035 adult, treatment-seeking insomnia patients indicated insomnia interfered with daytime functioning, and their average insomnia severity was in the range of a clinically relevant problem: total sleep time (5.50 h, SD = 1.60), sleep efficiency (71.05 %, SD = 18.26), wake time after sleep onset (120.70 min, SD = 92.56), and an insomnia severity index (18.81, SD = 5.09). Of these 1,035 insomnia patients, 42 % also ranked a sleep breathing disorder among their list of reasons for seeking treatment, another 13 % revealed a concern about a sleep breathing problem, and another 26 % reported awareness of sleep breathing symptoms. Only 19 % of this clinical insomnia sample reported no awareness or concerns about sleep breathing disorders, problems, or symptoms. A greater proportion of men than women reported significantly more sleep breathing disorders, problems, or symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Sleep breathing complaints were extremely common among a large sample of treatment-seeking, self-identified, adult chronic insomnia patients. Prospective prevalence research is needed to corroborate or revise these findings, and polysomnography should be considered in appropriate cohorts to determine the clinical relevance of treatment-seeking chronic insomnia patients' sleep breathing complaints.

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