Sleep Apnea - 10 Common Symptoms

Below are 10 common symptoms of sleep apnea. Do you experience or suffer from any of these?

1. Snoring

The most common indication of sleep apnea is loud and continuous snoring. Snoring is often interrupted by a gasp, but the patient continues to sleep. The patient may move from a condition of deep sleep to light sleep. A person who snores may not necessarily have sleep apnea. Often it is a person nearby who will notice the snoring.

2. Interrupted Breathing (Apnea episodes)

Apnea episodes may occur more than 30-40 times per hour Five per hour is considered severe sleep apnea.  Sufferers may appear to stop breathing all together during the night, followed by a loud, uncontrollable noise or gasp, indicating he/she is trying to catch their breath again. The problem is that most sufferers have no idea this is happening. The person may become aware of it from another individual or while undergoing a sleep study either in the comfort of their own home or at a sleep clinic.

3. Feeling Tired During the Day

Just imagine, as far as you know, you have had a wonderful night’s sleep. You don’t remember waking up once. And yet, in the morning you are exhausted or feel tired or lethargic throughout the day. Chances are that something is occurring, preventing you from reaching all of your sleep cycles.

4. Insomnia

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep and remain asleep. While most people at one point or another (some more depending on your chosen profession) have experienced a sleepless night. For a person suffering from insomnia, waking hours quickly become a living nightmare.

Insomnia can become a snowball effect, meaning the more you don’t sleep, the more difficult it can become to fall asleep. When you throw sleep apnea into the mix, the constant stopping/starting of breathing can be very jarring for the body, making it physically impossible to reach the deep sleep cycle levels.

5. Mood

There is a reason why people who are tired are categorizing as typically being in a bad mood. When a person can’t sleep soundly throughout most of the night, they will find it difficult to concentrate, become irritable, experience confusion and forgetfulness.

Prolonged and untreated sleep apnea can also lead to more pronounced mood disorders, including anxiety and depression. If you notice that you are experiencing significant, and more important, unexplainable changes in your mood, it might be worth going to see one of our dentists in order to get a professional opinion.

6. Dry Mouth

Another of the more common signs and symptoms surrounding sleep apnea is the waking up in the morning with dry lips, mouth and sore throat. This occurs when there is not enough saliva produced to properly moisturize those parts of the body. Often, this simply occurs because of the sufferers’ mouth being open during the night and what saliva is produced dries up.

However, it is important to note that there are a lot of potential causes for dry mouth other than sleep apnea, such as smoking, excessive drinking as well as diet. As with any condition, it is important to view the symptoms holistically, so as to best eliminate what it isn’t, so you and a professional can try and figure out what it is.

7. Nighttime Urination

If you’re over the age of 40, you may find yourself waking up during the night to use the bathroom.  While many of us just brush this off a symptom of age, it is might be more than that.

Also known as nocturia, this occurs when an individual needs to use the restroom more than twice in any given sleep period. As a healthy adult, we should be able to go between 6-8 hours while sleeping without having to use the bathroom. However, if you find yourself getting up more frequently, especially if you haven’t increased your liquid consumption, it might be worth visiting a doctor to get their opinion.

8. Restless Sleep

Sufferers of sleep apnea will not only experience fatigue and moodiness during their waking hours, but when the time comes to try and sleep (as mentioned before), it is often characterized by an inability to do so. Tossing and turning is often the physical manifestation of restless sleep, but the causes behind it can often be just as much psychological as it is physical in many sufferers of sleep apnea.

9. Sex Life Implications

Common symptoms of sleep apnea such as high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and fatigue are known by most people. However, only a handful is aware of its influence on sex. Recent studies have shown that sleep apnea can potentially lose a woman’s sexual desire and cause erectile dysfunction in a man.

A recent report by the National Sleep Foundation stated patients with erectile dysfunction were more than twice as likely to have sleep apnea than their normal counterparts.

Scientists speculate that the cause of this effect is due to the testosterone levels which are often affected depending on the amount of sleep acquired. Thus, sleep apnea - which causes trouble during sleep - drops these hormone levels leading to sexual problems.

Men are not the only victims of sexual dysfunction caused by sleep apnea. In a recent study, about 43% of women were recorded to have sexual issues that have negatively affected their lifestyles. In the previous month’s study of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, it was found that women who suffer from sleep apnea have a higher chance of developing sexual problems.

10. Headaches

This is a common symptom of not only sleep apnea, but countless other conditions as well. Discussing possible causes, examining the patient’s overall dental health and holistic interviewing is needed to determine whether or not the patient is suffering from sleep apnea, its severity and treatment options.

For sufferers of sleep apnea, these migraine-like headaches usually occur in the morning. They can leave the sufferer with a sensitivity to light and sound, as well as a constant, throbbing pressure in their head.

Learn more about sleep apnea or call to make an appointment with a  sleep apnea dentist in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA so we can help resolve your sleep apnea problems. Our office is located near by Bristol Farms. Our dental care specialists will ensure that you are informed and happy with your decision.