A GP guide to comorbid insomnia and sleep apnoea

Insomnia and obstructive sleep apnoea often coexist - it's important to identify and treat both conditions to ensure positive outcomes

Need to know:

  • Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and insomnia often coexist — a comorbidity that is known as COMISA.
  • Studies show a high overlap between the two conditions.
  • Traditionally, the two conditions have been viewed as distinct entities; however, they may be interrelated.
  • It is important to consider both in patients who present with sleep problems.
  • Several symptoms are common to both conditions, including non-restorative sleep, frequent awakening and fatigue.
  • All patients with insomnia should be screened for OSA, and insomnia should be considered in all patients diagnosed with OSA.
  • COMISA is more challenging to treat than either disorder presenting alone, and therapy is generally guided by the presenting complaint and/or predominant component.
  • GPs can play an important role in identifying this underrecognised comorbidity.

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