There are many different sleeping disorders, but few which affect more people around the world than sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is characterised by pauses or difficulties in breathing, and Sleepdex states that experts estimate around one in every 15 people suffer from sleep apnea.
If you do suffer, your health can be seriously affected. Harvard Medical School states in this article that untreated sleep apnea “Disrupts your nighttime rest, makes you sleepy during the daytime, boosts blood pressure and increases the chances of developing heart trouble.”
Even worse than this, it can contribute to the development of strokes, diabetes, depression and the worsening of ADHD among other serious health conditions.
Obviously, it is it’s important to be aware of the symptoms to spot it early. With that in mind, here’s 10 signs you may be suffering from sleep apnea.
1. Loud or Frequent Snoring
There’s a good chance that if you don’t suffer from snoring yourself then you know or have slept with someone that has.
That unmistakable noise comes from the soft palate tissue in our mouths, throat or nose relaxing once we fall asleep and then vibrating as air passes through our system as we breath.
Snoring can be increased by smoking, drinking excess amounts of alcohol or being overweight.
2. Shortness of Breath
Not dissimilar to snoring and often a result of particularly heavy snoring is suffering from regular abrupt awakenings because of a shortness of breath.
If you feel yourself even semi-regularly being thrust awake attempting to catch your breath, it is certainly worth paying a visit to your local GP.
Insomnia is a very serious sleeping condition which means you struggle to get to sleep for any decent length of time each night.
While there are many different causes for insomnia, having difficulties breathing while trying to sleep is one of the most common. This is a particularly serious sign because struggling to sleep at all can have a negative effect on the rest of your daily life.
4. Morning Headaches
This is another symptom which can be caused by a number of different things, from too many glasses of wine the night before to a common cold. However, consistent morning headaches can also be a sign of sleep apnea.
If you can’t put your finger on why these headaches are recurring, it could well be down to poor sleep.
5. Dry Mouth or Sore Throat
Again, this is obviously a symptom which can be attributed to anything from a hangover to having a cough, but sleep apnea can also cause this irritation.
If your body is working hard every night in order to help you breathe, it’s certainly going to cause some strain on your mouth and throat.
6. Pauses in Breathing
This is something you may discover via a partner or family member who will notice points in your sleep where you stop breathing or struggle to take a breath.
This is different to having an abrupt awakening due to shortness of breath because you won’t actually wake up, however, it is still a sign of potential sleep apnea.
7. Daytime Sleepiness
The problem diagnosing sleep apnea is that it can affect you without waking you up, so, you may start blaming other things for feeling tired.
If you feel continuously fatigued and can’t put your finger on why, it could have something to do with the way you breathe as you sleep.
8. Attention Problems
If we continuously struggle to get enough sleep, it’s no surprise that our concentration might not be as good as it could be.
People who suffer from sleep apnea may regularly struggle to concentrate for long periods of time or find themselves becoming increasingly forgetful.
9. Mood and Personality Changes
Another sign of having sleep apnea can be sudden or frequent changes in temperament or emotions.
Lots of people who suffer from sleep apnea also suffer from things such as depression or anxiety. If you feel as if you are susceptible to these sorts of feelings then sleep apnea could well be one of the reasons why.
10. Sexual Dysfunction
This is a sign which is generally more prominent in men but a strong one nevertheless. Sexual dysfunction occurs for a number of different reasons but a consistent lack of sleep is one of the most regular.
It is unlikely that sleep apnea is the individual cause of any of these symptoms, however, if you begin to feel as if you begin to notice a number of these signs, it is well worth consuming your doctor.