Every day, thousands of Americans wake up tired and unrested. Some might have had trouble hitting the hay or had a stressful next day that kept them up – fretting about the following day’s events. A large majority, however, were kept awake for a different reason: they have undiagnosed sleep apnea.
Because it’s a sickness that affects us while we sleep (and are therefore not fully aware of our surroundings or personal state), it can be hard to recognize the signs. Even those who are aware of sleeping conditions and what might be a certain trigger have a hard time at nailing down a cause. Think about it, while sleeping, how often are you fully aware of your surroundings? Yes you might know where you are and approximately what time it is. You might even know which pet is making a certain noise or exactly how many steps sits between the edge of your bed and the bathroom. But when it comes to specifics, how well you’re sleeping or what it is that woke you up, they can be very hard to trace.
The first step in any diagnosis, however, is recognizing the signs. Whether you’re suspicious of sleep apnea or you want to better recognize its calling card, check out the symptoms below. With this knowledge in tow you can be on your way to becoming a sleep apnea diagnosing machine.
7. Loud Snoring
While the patient themselves can often sleep through snoring (no matter how loud it may be), a loved one can easily point this out for them. Snoring is quite common for those without sleeping issues – though increases in decibels or frequency can be a sign of an underlying cause.
6. A Dry or Sore Throat
If you regularly wake up with a dry or sore throat, sleep apnea may be the cause. Check frequency and time of year (dry, cold weather often lends itself to an uncomfortable throat), and if persistent, it may be time to talk to the doctor about finding a long-term cure for your poor throat.
5. Insomnia or Restless Sleep
If you’re having problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or if suffering from fitful dreams, sleep apnea could very well be the cause. Again, keep track of how often these symptoms take place; a regular pattern can help narrow down the cause and give doctors a head start in diagnosing.
4. Sleepiness When Awake
Sleep apnea can also cause sufferers to remain tired or groggy throughout the day. If you notice regular bouts of wishing you were sleeping, it may be time to talk to your doctor about what’s causing this ongoing wish for daytime rest.
3. Morning Headaches
Waking up with a headache on a regular basis is a common symptom of sleep apnea. Because the brain (and rest of the body) isn’t getting enough rest, it causes pain from this ongoing source of stress. Make note on your calendar each day you wake up clutching your head for a foolproof reference.
2. Waking Up Choking or Coughing
Practically everyone has woken up with that “I may have just swallowed a bug” feeling. If it happens regularly, however, it might not be actual bugs trickling down your throat, but a side effect of waking throughout the night.
1. Change in Moods
Those who suffer from sleep apnea are found to suffer from frequent mood changes. They might become forgetful, lose interest in sex, or just have incredible mood swings. Inconvenient and unpleasant, all three can be linked to a lack of sleep, especially on a long term basis.