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Sleep apnea is a lot more common than you may think. It affects adults of all ages and can even be seen in kids and teens. Sleep apnea is a disorder that repeatedly stops your breathing throughout the night. This can lead to grogginess, daytime fatigue, poor concentration, or even more serious health issues like heart disease or a greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Here are a few key signs of sleep apnea.
Does your partner complain about your snoring? Do they lay awake at night listening to your snore? This can often be a sign of sleep apnea. Ask your partner for more details. If they notice that your snores get cut off suddenly, or that they start again abruptly, you may have sleep apnea.
2. Waking up Gasping for Air
Sleep apnea disrupts your breathing. While you sleep, the muscles in the back of your throat get very relaxed, and sometimes they become too relaxed. This blocks the airway. Your breathing may be labored, and your breathing may even stop completely. As soon as your brain realizes the flow of oxygen has stopped, you wake up to restart your breath. You’re not aware of all this behind-the-scenes action, but you will wake up gasping for air or feeling as though you’re choking. Waking up with shortness of breath is a common sign of sleep apnea.
3. Morning Dry Mouth
If you’ve spent the whole night snoring and waking up gasping for air, there’s a good chance your mouth will feel dry in the morning. Many people with sleep apnea report waking up with a dry mouth or a sore throat.
4. Morning Headache and Fatigue
Do you wake up feeling exhausted or have a headache in the morning? Waking up repeatedly throughout the night is a big contributing factor to daytime drowsiness and fatigue.
Do you feel extremely tired and sleepy during the day? This is hypersomnia, and it can also be a sign of sleep apnea. If you haven’t been sleeping consistently through the night, you have a high risk of daytime hypersomnia.
6. Poor Concentration
It’s no surprise that lack of sleep leads to poor concentration. If you’re experiencing a limited attention span, difficulty concentrating, and problems in memory, you could have sleep apnea.
7. Mood Swings
Everyone experiences changes in mood and that’s just part of being human. But if you have frequent mood swings characterized by excessive irritability or sadness, this could point to a sleep disorder. Poor sleep can have a huge effect on your mood. Mood swings are a common sign of sleep apnea.
8. You Have Some Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
Anyone can develop sleep apnea but there are a few factors that could increase your risk of developing this sleep disorder. The common risk factors for sleep apnea include:
- Being overweight: If there are fat deposits around the neck or airway, this may increase the risk of the airway being blocked at night.
- Excessive alcohol consumption: Alcohol can further relax the muscles in the throat, making it more likely to have difficulty breathing during sleep.
- Smoking tobacco: Smoking can increase the risk of inflammation in the upper airway, blocking the airway and causing sleep apnea.
- Having a narrow airway: Some people inherit a narrow airway from their parents.
- Having allergies: Any other condition that contributes to nasal congestion can increase the risk of sleep apnea.
- Being male: Men are more likely to have sleep apnea than women.
- Being older: Older adults are more likely to have sleep apnea than younger adults.
Addressing Your Sleep Apnea
If you notice several of these signs, you may have sleep apnea. Visit Sound Sleep Medical to find out more about sleep apnea and discuss your symptoms. Living with untreated sleep apnea is not an option. You’ll continue to feel fatigued and struggle to get enough sleep. The signs and symptoms of sleep apnea can also worsen over time.
We have several treatment options that can help you get the sleep you need. From proper sleep hygiene to using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, we’ve got you covered. Come in today and find out how you can get a good night’s sleep every night.