Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder when breathing pauses for some seconds when you are asleep. Breathing resumes after 10 to 20 seconds. The stopping of breathing happens for many times during a single night. If you have sleep apnea you don’t get proper sleep and you might be snoring. There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and complex sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common.
You might snore while sleeping, but it is not always the case that people who snore have sleep apnea and people who have sleep apnea snore. So, how do you know that you have sleep apnea or it is just snoring?
You can look at the symptoms of sleep apnea and some of them are particular to sleep apnea. Some of the major symptoms of sleep apnea are as follows:
Loud and different snoring
The people with sleep apnea snore extremely loudly. Snoring is chronic and happens regularly. Their snoring is different than other normal snoring. They have pauses in between their snores. They stop their snores after some time with a gasp or choke. They mostly do not realize the gasps for air as they are asleep. Their gasps and chokes are also very loud and noticeable. Snoring happens mostly in one type of sleep apnea known as obstructive sleep apnea where the air passage is clogged when the person is asleep. Snoring is the most prominent at the time when people sleep at their back rather than when the person is sleeping facing any side.
Interruption in breathing and choking
The pauses in snoring occurs before choking in obstructive sleep apnea. Whereas in central sleep apnea, gasping and choking can happen without any warnings. In obstructive sleep apnea, the person does not mostly remember choking after waking up, whereas in central sleep apnea the person generally remembers after waking up too. The sleep is very restless.
Daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia) and fatigue
People with sleep apnea face tiredness and fatigue which is a distinguishable characteristics not found if you only snore. The person will also feel asleep during the daytime while doing any kind of work. The person might get asleep while working, driving or even exercising. It can also happen unexpectedly during talking. Because of no good sleep, the person might feel fatigued which disrupts the normal functioning of the person. The person also has a lack of energy and alertness. The sleepiness occurs mostly during quiet times.
Irritability and short temper
People with sleep apnea will not get proper rest that people get during sleep. So, these people are mostly irritated from time to time. They get angry without any serious reason. They cannot control your anger and shout at people. They show their anger in front of people too.
The people who have sleep apnea cannot control their emotions like other people can. They get extreme feelings like happiness, sadness, anger, etc. These people have difficulty in suppressing their extreme emotions. That might cause problems to other people.
Anxiety, restlessness and depression
People with sleep apnea also suffer from other mental problems like anxiety and depression. They feel restless and cannot stay without doing anything. They fear many things like social interactions. They do not share their problems. They have other symptoms of anxiety and depression too.
As soon as a person with sleep apnea wakes up, the person has a sharp headache, which gets alright after some time. It happens due to bad sleep quality.
Waking up with dry and sore throat
The people with sleep apnea have dry throat just after waking up. They feel thirsty as they breathe through their mouth mostly. They might also have frequent sore throats and pains.
Forgetfulness and lack of concentration
People who do not get quality sleep have concentration and learning problems as well as they have low memory capacity. They forget things very easily within a short span of time. Thus, this also happens to the people who have sleep apnea as their sleep is not of a good quality.
Decreased interest in sexual activities
People with sleep apnea as well as some other sleep disorders have low libido and sexual interests. They have lack of concentration which also affects in their interest.
Difficulty falling and staying asleep (insomnia)
People with sleep apnea have difficulty in getting asleep and staying asleep for a longer duration of time. The people with sleep apnea wake up after gasping for air, they do not realize it most of the time. They change positions frequently while sleeping, which wakes them up many times. They also wake up frequently for urination. They have difficulty sleeping.
Sleep Apnea in children
If a child has sleep apnea, the child might snore, have strange sleeping positions, be hyperactive, might have lack of concentration and learning difficulties. The child might also have mood and behavior problems. They try to breathe through their mouth during the day more. The children might also have bedwetting and night terror problems.
Not everybody who have all these symptoms have sleep apnea. They might just have some sleeping problems or some other sleep disorder. Thus, you must go to the doctor if the condition is affecting your and making it difficult. You might not know if you have the symptoms, so you can get help from your partner to recognize the symptoms. People with sleep apnea have these symptoms for a long time, every time, unlike other people who get the symptoms some days. You should also check on your children if they show most of the symptoms. Contact doctors if the disorder is affecting your sleep and daytime activities very seriously.