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5 Signs You May Have Sleep Apnea

5 Signs You May Have Sleep Apnea - Mia Barnes

Sleep apnea is a disorder that interrupts an individual’s breathing repeatedly through the night. This health issue occurs while you’re sleeping, so it can be challenging to self-diagnose.

However, several common signs can help you determine if your health is affected by sleep apnea. Here are five common side effects of sleep apnea.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are several different types of sleep apnea, including obstructive and central sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea is usually connected to another physical issue, such as heart disease or a neurological disorder. It’s caused by poor communication between your brain and respiratory muscles.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in your throat relax too much and block your airway. Your body realizes it’s not getting enough oxygen and responds with an adrenaline rush that wakes you up enough to clear your airway. This cycle of relaxation and adrenaline can repeat itself indefinitely throughout the night.

  1. Loud Snoring

Loud snoring is one of the most common signs that an individual may be experiencing sleep apnea. Although you may not be aware of snoring, you can ask friends or your partner to let you know if you often snore during the night.

Many people who aren’t affected by sleep apnea snore, and some people with sleep apnea don’t snore. However, persistent and disruptive snoring is often a strong sign of a partially obstructed airway during sleep.

  1. Restlessness

Sometimes, people experiencing sleep apnea will wake up repeatedly through the night. This typically occurs because a rush of adrenaline wakes you up to reinstate normal breathing. However, another potential cause for restlessness is the absence of REM, or rapid eye movement, sleep.

Humans experience typical sleep cycles of alternating non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and REM sleep. Most of the night is spent in the NREM cycle, but about 25% of sleep time is allotted to REM. Many muscles become temporarily paralyzed during REM and your brain processes information from your day.

  1. Exhaustion

You may start to feel very tired and irritable during the day if your body experiences repeated adrenaline rushes overnight and loses essential REM sleep. People who don’t get a healthy amount of REM sleep suffer from mental fog, mood swings and a weakened immune system.

Exhaustion can have many causes, including late nights, a busy schedule and processing heavy emotions like grief. However, if you’re dealing with chronic fatigue, the reason could be sleep apnea.

  1. Oral Issues

Another common indicator of sleep apnea is waking up with a sore throat. Usually, a sore throat is caused by seasonal allergies or an illness like the common cold. If your throat hurts without any other symptoms, you may be experiencing continual tension in your throat from sleep apnea.

Bad breath can also be a sign of sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea often breathe out of their mouths, which can lead to dry mouth. Over time, dry mouth can create bad breath because saliva helps clean your mouth and reduce oral odors.

  1. Morning Headaches

Another common indicator for sleep apnea is waking up with a headache. These headaches most likely occur because your body isn’t getting enough oxygen to supply your bloodstream. As a result, widened blood vessels will give you a headache to let you know something’s wrong.

Many different factors can cause headaches, but sleep apnea headaches have several unique characteristics. They feel like pressing rather than pulsing, and they usually also don’t cause sensitivity to light or sound.

Getting Checked Out

You may have sleep apnea if you experience several of these symptoms, and they recur over time. In that case, getting a diagnosis from a doctor and receiving treatment could reduce or completely alleviate your symptoms over time.

Sleep apnea is incredibly common, and there are several options for treatment available. Use this list of five common symptoms to see if it may be the culprit for your health concerns.


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