ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What are symptoms of sleep apnea?

Updated on December 20, 2017
Source

Do you have sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea can be a very intrusive and sometimes even dangerous sleep disorder. While some symptoms can be mild and easily managed, others can make it difficult to sleep properly, leaving the person extremely tired and irritable. The first step to treating or preventing sleep apnea is understanding whether or not you have it. Next up are some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea and what you should do if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Loud snoring

This symptom is most common in obstructive sleep apnea and it can be disturbing both for the person experiencing it and for any other people sleeping in the room or even in the house. Many people have experienced sleeping near or in the same house with someone who snores very loudly. It can be difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep when someone is snoring like a buzz saw next to you or in the next room over. While loud snoring does not always indicate sleep apnea, it is one of the most common and most noticeable symptoms.

Source

Breathing cessation

If you have ever slept next to someone who has sleep apnea, you have probably observed this symptom. A person will simply stop breathing for a period of time, and they make wake up coughing or gasping for breath, or they may simply start breathing again, after a period. This symptom can be difficult for those who sleep alone, but if other signs and symptoms are present, it is likely that this symptom is present, too.

Waking abruptly

Another very common symptoms that accompanies sleep apnea, waking abruptly is often paired with feeling like you cannot breathe. Shortness of breath is very common for those who struggle with this disorder, and it is very easy to recognize. If this happens occasionally, it indicates a more acute type of sleep apnea, but if it happens very regularly, it can be a sign of a more serious issue. This can be especially distressing if it happens more than once during the same night.

Dry mouth

If you have sleep apnea, you probably spend most of the night breathing through your mouth. This can lead to you waking up with a very dry, gritty mouth. If you often find that you have to keep water by your bed and that you wake up very thirsty, with cotton mouth or dry mouth, this can indicate sleep apnea, as breathing through your mouth while you sleep dries out the mouth. This can lead to a number of more significant problems, like gum disease, cavities, and the like.

Sore throat

Like dry mouth, breathing through the mouth while you sleep will cause sore throat. When the mouth and throat do not have adequate saliva, you can wake up feeling like you have strep throat. You will not just be thirsty, your throat will actually feel very sore and you might think, until you have gulped down a few glasses of water, that you are getting sick.

Headaches in the morning

There is nothing worse than waking up with a headache, but those who have sleep apnea often do. Even if you do not wake up with a headache, you might start to feel one coming on soon after you get out of bed. This is caused by the distress that sleep apnea puts on your body. A headache that comes on during the morning can stay throughout the day, even if you take pain medication, and is one of the best reasons to find a treatment for sleep apnea.

Inability to stay asleep

Many of the symptoms of sleep apnea make it difficult to stay asleep. From loud snoring (you can actually snore so loudly that you wake yourself up), to breathing problems, you may find yourself being woken up several times during the night. While this is different from insomnia, which can prevent you from getting to sleep in the first place, it is still a serious issue that can leave sleep deprived.

Sleepiness during the day

Many people, especially adults, just take sleepiness in stride, believing it be a reality of adulthood. The truth is, however, that you don’t have to be sleepy during the day. In fact, the whole point of sleep is that you shouldn’t feel sleepy during the day. If you aren’t getting enough sleep and you often feel tired throughout your day, sleep apnea might be the cause.

Difficulty paying attention

Difficulty paying attention to your daily tasks is more a symptom of being sleep deprived, but that does not mean that it is not a symptom of sleep apnea, as this is one of the main causes of sleep deprivation. When you are tired, paying attention to what you need to pay attention to can be extremely difficult. This can interfere with your job, your relationships, child rearing, enjoyment of entertainment, etc.

What is happening when you have sleep apnea?

If your snoring does not bother your bed partner, you might not believe it is a serious problem. But snoring is often an indicator that the drowsiness you feel during the day, the choking or gasping for breath you often find yourself being awoken by, and more, are actually symptoms of sleep apnea.

While there are very simply treatments for this sleep disorder, so few people realize that they have this issue that only a small fraction of people who have sleep apnea actually seek a solution.

During sleep apnea, the muscles in your throat start to relax. This relaxation leaves the soft palate and tongue unsupported, narrowing and even closing up your airway. It becomes more difficult to get the deep breaths that you need to sustain sleep, lowering your blood oxygen level. Your brain signals that it is not getting enough air, so it wakes you up so that your body will start supporting those muscles again. You may not even realize this is happening, as you often fall quickly back to sleep, even though it may be happening as often as every two minutes.

Individuals who experience this will never be fully rested. Your brain is constantly waking up the body, preventing you from ever getting through a full REM cycle. Because you do not realize that you have been woken up throughout the night (or that it is actually your own body waking itself up), you might think that you have slept throughout the night and that you are actually getting a great night’s sleep. In reality, you are getting nowhere near the amount of sleep you could be getting if you were sleeping properly.

Be on the lookout for these symptoms, either in your own sleep habits or in those of your partner. More on sleep and sleep habits, here. Sometimes, even just sleeping on your side can prevent the airways from closing up, though some treatment methods may be more extensive.

Why is sleeping well so important?

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Sam Shepards profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Shepards 

      2 years ago from Europe

      Thanks! In general I sleep well either except for some bad habits like staying up late and losing some sleep that way. My parents do suffer from issues like snoring, uncle has sleep apnea and some friends also have serious issues. It seems to be getting worse, more and more people have issues.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      2 years ago from Texas

      Sam, thank you so much for the list of symptoms of sleep-apnea. I usually sleep well but sometimes have some of the symptoms you write about.

      Very useful hub

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)