Signs/Symptoms

What Are the Signs or Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

It is difficult to determine if you have sleep apnea, given that most of the signs or symptoms only happen when you are sleeping. Your spouse, family member or bed partner can observe your sleeping patterns and let you know about them the next day.

Many people can go years or even decades before realizing that something is wrong. It is also possible that your doctor may not realize that you have a sleeping problem. A sleep test is the only way to verify whether you have sleep apnea.

The book below is an excellent resource on the topic of sleep apnea, specifically the symptoms. Note that a new page will be displayed when the image or link is clicked.

What is Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?: Your Guide to Sleep Apnea Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, CPAP Machines and More!

 

One of the most common signs of obstructive sleep apnea is loud and chronic snoring. There may also be pauses in the snoring, followed by choking or gasping, but you may not remember doing so. The snoring is usually the loudest when you’re sleeping on your back and often times it will be less noisy when you sleep on your side. You may not snore every night but over time your snoring may get louder and more frequent.

Here is a short video explaining some of the symptoms that may indicate if you have sleep apnea.

Fighting fatigue during the day, at work, or while driving is another common sign of sleep apnea. You may find it very easy to fall asleep during a quiet period of the day when you’re not very active.

People with undiagnosed sleep apnea — may affect more than 20 million adults, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association.

Some of the symptoms to watch out for include:

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

  • Loud snoring
  • You stop breathing while asleep
  • Waking up gasping for air or choking
  • Feeling exhausted even after a night’s sleep
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headaches or migraines
  • Frequent visits to the washroom during the night
  • Forgetfulness and/or difficulty concentrating
  • Restless or fitful sleep
  • Feeling of depression, irritability, or mood swings
  • Children who have sleep apnea also may breathe through their mouths instead of their noses during the day

While snoring is one of the most common signs of obstructive sleep apnea, it should be noted that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. However, most people who have sleep apnea do snore.

You can find other books on the topic of sleep apnea here. Please drop me a comment if you have found another book that you found informative on the topic of sleep apnea.

28 thoughts on “Signs/Symptoms

  1. Debbi

    Shawn,

    This is a very informative site. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea years ago and slept with the CPAP machine for 1 1/2 nights. I just couldn’t handle it. Looking at this helpful list, I see that I don’t have most of the symptoms but I do have a couple like being exhausted and frequent migranes or plain headaches. I suppose I could program my fitbit to get a better picture of my pattern.

    Thank you for all the data and making me relook at this. (I’m yawning as I’m writing this). I’ll look at the options you’ve listed as well.

    Reply
    1. Shawn

      Hi Debbi,
      Thanks very much for the feedback! I’ve only been using my CPAP machine for almost 7 months. I don’t have a problem using it yet. I think I may try the nasal mask to see how that feels. I currently use the full face mask. I’m glad you don’t have many of the symptoms. I use my Fitbit to see what my sleeping pattern is too, what a great little device!!
      Thanks again,
      Shawn

      Reply
  2. Brianna

    I love your site! It has so much information in one place. I don’t have to jump around from a bunch of different websites which is very convenient! I know a lot of people with sleep apnea so its great to learn about what they go through and the warning signs. Thank you!!

    Reply
    1. Shawn

      Thanks very much for your feedback Brianna! I hope that people will find the information useful. I’ve tried to centralize a lot of information into one location, so that people wouldn’t have to go back and forth.
      Thanks again!
      Shawn

      Reply
  3. Armand

    Hello Shawn,
    You have a nice website here regarding sleep apnea. I have some of the symptoms of it: loud snoring, and maybe finding myself “twitching” where I find myself waking up by making sudden movements. Though I don’t have a clear definition of sleep apnea, I just hope I don’t have it. I’ll refer this site to anyone who has sleep apnea, and I hope for the best that they don’t have it. I also hope that you’re getting it less often these days.
    Armand

    Reply
    1. Shawn

      Hello Armand,
      I appreciate your comments. Do you find that you’re tired when you wake up each morning? Snoring is one symptom, which my wife will attest to, but for me there were three main symptoms. The snoring for sure, but also the constant acid reflux that I would get during the night and being exhausted during the day. I hope you don’t have it, but you may want to review my “Create a Sleep Diary” post, and try keeping one for yourself for a couple of weeks and then share your findings with your doctor. It wouldn’t hurt to get tested, just to be on the safe side.
      Good luck!
      Shawn

      Reply
      1. Armand

        Hello Shawn,
        In response to your question about feeling tired when I wake up. The answer is yes. Though, it’s not each morning, but more like MOST mornings. I am going to read that “Create a Sleep Diary” post. I am hoping that it will cure my possible sleep problems.
        Armand

        Reply
        1. Shawn

          Hi Armand,
          Thanks for the comment and I hope that the sleep diary gives you some indication of your sleeping patterns, and possibly a cure!
          Good luck!
          Shawn

          Reply
  4. Daphne

    Hi Shawn you have a very informative website. It covers a lot of important information that is valuable to anyone who is dealing with or searching for answers on this on this health issue. Keep up the good work, wishing you continued success on this website.

    Reply
    1. Shawn

      Thank you very much Daphne! I hope that people will find the information on my site useful and if it helps anyone to get tested and sleep better, then it will have been worth all the work!
      Regards,
      Shawn

      Reply
  5. Yohan

    Shawn,
    Thanks for sharing the sigs and symptoms of sleep apnea, it’s good to know, since sleep is so important for us.
    I might have undiagnosed sleep apnea, since I wake up with a dry mouth or sore throat sometimes.
    If it gets worse, I will have to go get checked up.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Shawn

      Hi Yohan,
      I appreciate your comments! Definitely get it checked out. I know from experience that you can’t let it go too long untreated. I hope for your sake that it is not sleep apnea. Good luck!
      Regards,
      Shawn

      Reply
  6. Shashinth

    This is a very informative site. Learned a lot. I think many people will benefit from your site.
    Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    1. Shawn

      Thank you Shashinth! I hope the information on my site helps others to see the value of getting checked out by their doctor if they suspect they have a sleeping disorder.
      Regards,
      Shawn

      Reply
  7. Michelle

    High Shawn
    Your website is great. LOL!. I guess i’m not the only one that records my husband while he sleeps. I do it because he gets mad at me when I tap him, plug his nose, make him roll over. He says he doesn’t snore that bad, so I let him listen to the recording. All jokes aside. He does stop breather, and he does choke and gasp for air, and he keeps me up at night snoring really loud. He has reflex decease. Not to mention he is a smoker. (bad,bad, bad). His snoring is very loud at times and keeps me awake a lot. I didn’t know there were different types of machines for different sleep apnea. I believe he has it. And he is in his early fifties. Thanks for the website, you will help a lot of people.
    Michelle

    Reply
    1. Shawn

      Thanks for the comments Michelle! I hope for his sake that he gets tested. I know from personal experience that it will make a huge difference. I am also in my mid 50’s and as soon as I stared using a CPAP machine, my snoring stopped, my sleep improved and my acid reflux disappeared as well!
      Good luck to both of you.
      Shawn

      Reply
  8. Zaid Omar

    Shawn one weird thing I found out is that..When I sleep after my night shift likw from 10am to 3pm, Id wake up feelimg energetic but if I sleep from 11pm to 6am its always tough waking up. Maybe it has got to do with my sleep rhythm. Hmm

    Reply
    1. Shawn Post author

      Hi Zaid,
      That’s interesting. Perhaps it’s because you’re going to bed and waking up during the daytime, I’m not sure. For me, I find it tough to wake up early in the morning, partly because it’s dark out and in the case of our Canadian winters, it’s cold in the morning and who wants to get out of a nice warm bed!
      Thank you for your comment!
      Shawn

      Reply
  9. Wayne Provenza

    Hi Shawn,

    This is an excellent site and very near and dear to my heart since I have suffered from lack of deep sleep and waking up quite frequently now for several years. After reading your blogs and listening to the video I am thinking I may not yet have sleep Apnea and don’t have many of the symptoms you list, however, your site has re-focused my attention on this issue and my need to get it sorted out. I think I will go have the test for sleep Apnea and then proceed from there. Thanks for sharing all of this valuable information.

    Wayne

    Reply
    1. Shawn Post author

      Hi Wayne,
      Thanks very much for your comments, I appreciate it! This is a subject that is near and dear to me as well. I have sleep apnea and I know a lot of friends and family that have it as well and that list just seems to keep growing. I also believe it is one of the contributing factors that led to my dad’s death last year. I hope you are able to go for a sleep study and confirm one way or another if you have sleep apnea.
      Good luck Wayne! I would be interested to know how it turns out for you.
      Regards,
      Shawn

      Reply
  10. rule2020

    Thank you for sharing with us this very informative article.
    This is very helpful guide indeed. I greatly appreciate all the information you provided.
    We need more informative articles like this about sleep apnea, it’s signs and symptoms because people do not realize the risk of having it. Oxygen level can drop dangerously low and can cause serious or fatal damage if left un attended.
    Whether you fit the profile or not, you need to be informed and i’ts better to check with your doctor if you feel any signs and symptoms. By doing this, you would lessen your worries and ensure your safety.
    Prevention is always better than Cure.

    Reply
    1. Shawn Post author

      Thank you very much for your comments! You are correct that people should get tested if they feel they have a sleeping disorder. People need to understand that sleep apnea is very dangerous if left undetected and it can take years off your life.
      Regards,
      Shawn

      Reply
  11. M.Naeem

    Thank you for sharing this informative articles. A saying says that “early to bed early to raise make healthy, wealthy and wise” It is good to get rid of bad habit
    Regards
    M.Naeem

    Reply
    1. Shawn Post author

      Thank you for your comments M.Naeem! My parents used to say that to me quite often. Unfortunately, if you have a sleep disorder, it doesn’t necessarily matter how much sleep you get, because it’s not a good sleep so over time, it tends to make you unhealthy and potential dangerous.
      Regards,
      Shawn

      Reply
  12. Sergio

    Hi, thanks for the interesting article. My partner snores a lot at night, but other than that she does not seem to have any of the other signs you described, except feeling very thirsty in the morning, which I always thought was a direct consequence of snoring.
    Anyway, I will probably check the book you suggested, as this is a very important issue.

    Reply
    1. Shawn Post author

      My pleasure Sergio. I’m glad you found the article interesting. Your partner may not have any other symptoms now, but you may want to watch out for more of them over time at which point you may want to consider getting her tested to confirm one way or the other if she has sleep apnea. I hope for her sake that she doesn’t. I hope the book will provide more insight into sleep apnea.
      Best regards and good luck!
      Shawn

      Reply
  13. Roxen

    i hope is not one of my problems, but i find it very interesting. I didn’t know about its existence until now… maybe you could write here also some ideas of a treatment, i know a person who will need to read about… thank you for sharing and please write more about it…

    Reply
    1. Shawn Post author

      Hi Roxen,
      I hope it’s not one of your problems either. It is more common than most people think and if it goes undetected or untreated, it can be very dangerous. You can visit this link for treatments: https://doyouhavesleepapnea.com/treatments. You can find a number of books on sleep apnea and various treatments. But first thing I would recommend is to get your doctor to prescribe a sleep study for yourself. That way you can confirm if you do in fact have sleep apnea and then you can proceed from there with treatments. I will be adding more information on sleep apnea to my site on a regular occurrence. Good luck and let me know what happens.
      Thank you for your comments.
      Regards,
      Shawn

      Reply

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