According to research, those who have both insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to have cardiac issues and are about 50% more likely to die than those who do not have either ailment.

The study was published in the journal ‘European Respiratory Journal.’

“The two most prevalent sleep disorders, insomnia and obstructive sleep apnoea, affect 10 to 30 percent of the population, but people can sometimes suffer from both at the same time,” said Dr Bastien Lechat of Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute: Sleep Health.

“Previously, little was known about the impact of co-morbid insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea (COMISA), but we did know that persons with both illnesses have consistently poorer health outcomes than people with neither problem or those with either condition alone,” Lechat continued.

To better understand the hazards of COMISA, Flinders University researchers investigated a large US-based dataset of over 5,000 persons.

The participants, who were roughly 60 years old at the start of the trial and 52% female, were tracked for around 15 years, during which time 1,210 persons died.


Participants with COMISA were two times more likely to have high blood pressure and 70% more likely to have cardiovascular disease than those who did not have insomnia or sleep apnea, according to the findings.

Even when other variables known to promote mortality were taken into consideration, persons with COMISA had a 47% greater probability of dying (for any reason) compared to participants without insomnia or sleep apnoea.

“This is the first study to look at the risk of death in people who had both insomnia and sleep apnea.”

“Because these people are at a higher risk of having worse health outcomes,” Lechat continued, “it’s critical that patients who are being evaluated for one illness also be screened for the other.”

While more study is needed to determine what is driving the increased mortality risk in persons with COMISA, experts also believe that more research is needed to guarantee that therapies are successful.

“People with co-occurring illnesses may require unique therapies, therefore it’s critical that we look at the efficacy of insomnia and sleep apnea treatments in this group.”

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