Sleep Apnea: The Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of sleep apnea are:

  1. Snoring
  2. Daytime sleepiness
  3. Witnessed pauses in breathing during sleep
  4. Restless sleep

The First Obvious Sign of Sleep Apnea

The most obvious sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea is chronic, loud, and ongoing snoring. Pauses will occur during the snoring, and gasping or choking noises may follow pauses.

Of course, as the sleeper you probably won’t even know that you’re experiencing breathing problems because you’re fast asleep when you’re gasping for air, or snoring. Therefore you won’t be aware of just how serious your condition is, but your partner or other family member will more than likely be aware of just how severe your sleep apnea is.

It’s important to note that, just because you snore, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you suffer from sleep apnea.

The Second Obvious Sign of Sleep Apnea

The second most obvious sign of sleep apnea is sleepiness during the day, while driving, or at work. Specifically you’ll find yourself quickly falling asleep during quiet (and sometimes inappropriate) times of the day, because you’re not active at that particular moment. Regardless of whether you feel extremely tired during the day, or not, it’s important that you discuss any breathing issues you may be experiencing during sleep with your medical practitioner.

Additional Symptoms and Signs of Sleep Apnea

  • Headaches, specifically in the morning;
  • Inability to concentrate, and learning or memory issues;
  • Waking up frequently during the night to urinate;
  • Feeling depressed, irritable, having mood swings or complete personality changes, and
  • Sore throat or dry mouth on waking.

Sleep apnea in children can cause hostile behavior, anger, poor performance at school, and hyperactivity. Children with sleep apnea are often mouth breathers, instead of breathing through their nose.

Next Steps

Talk to your general doctor or sleep doctor if you have these symptoms and think that you might have sleep apnea. Learn about the sleep apnea test and some of the popular treatment options for sleep apnea.

7 Replies to “Sleep Apnea: The Signs and Symptoms”

  1. Margaret

    I had no idea that morning headaches were a sign of sleep apnea. My sister snores extremely loud and always comments about her headaches in the morning. I’ll ask her about these other symptoms and make sure she sees a dentist about sleep apnea.

  2. Anonymous

    My husband does not sleep allnight, he awakes exhausted. I have to talk to him on our cell phones till he reaches work and vice versa.

    We have tried a sleep study but he’s closterphobic from all thr equipment. We are trying again Sunday 2\26\17 with sedation?

    • Anonymous

      I am the same way I can’t go to sleep with all those wires on me I also will never be able to use a Cpap machine

      • Anonymous

        A cpap saved my life. Yes in the beginning it took some getting used to,
        But at least I came back to living again
        My sleep apnea was severe.
        It took courage….
        You must at least make an attempt
        The initial test in the sleep lab is only A test. I’ve been Using a cpap for 5 years now. I won’t even try sleeping without it.

    • Deborah

      My husband is having a sleep study tonight at home! It is simply a clip on his finger which will monitor his Oxygen levels. Ask you Dr about it.

  3. Lillian Schaeffer

    I like how you mentioned that sleepiness during the day can be a sign of sleep apnea. My husband has always snored really loudly, but he recently has been having a hard time staying awake for the whole day. It sounds like it could be sleep apnea, so maybe we could visit a professional to see if that’s the case.

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