Is Sleep Apnea Affecting Your Daily Life?

Even though sleep apnea is a nighttime condition, it’s not uncommon to experience symptoms during waking hours, too. Check out these signs that you could be overlooking.

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

The loud gasp-like breathing that accompanies obstructive sleep apnea may seem impossible to miss, but ironically people often aren’t aware they have the condition. In fact, a partner who shares the bed is likely to pick up on the problem first, since detecting your own noisy snoring is virtually impossible. But disruptive snoring is only one sign of sleep apnea, albeit the most recognizable. Many symptoms actually occur during the day. If you notice any of the following red flags, talk to your doctor, since—if left untreated—sleep apnea may up the odds of heart trouble, diabetes, and other health complications.

Excessive Tiredness

Daytime sleepiness is a common sleep apnea symptom. Because the condition is associated with multiple brief sleep interruptions throughout the night (people typically don’t even notice the awakenings), it is difficult to get a good night’s rest. As a result, it’s not unusual for sleep apnea sufferers to feel exhausted during the day, even though they can’t pinpoint the cause.

Moodiness or Trouble Concentrating

People with sleep apnea may be irritable or depressed during the day. Many also find it difficult to remain attentive, whether at work or at school. Children affected by the condition may perform poorly in the classroom or become hyperactive.

Morning Headaches

Headaches upon waking often are a sign of someone suffering from a sleep disorder, especially when there is no notable cause, such as drinking alcohol the night before. Some people with sleep apnea may also experience a sore throat or dry mouth first thing in the morning.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect it may be related to sleep apnea, talk with your doctor. Your physician may recommend a sleep study for further evaluation. If you do have the condition, lifestyle changes as well as other therapies can help stop the snoring, allowing you to get the sleep you need at night, so you can enjoy the day ahead.