Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may be a sign that you are suffering from a form of sleep apnea. Follow the links below to learn more about how they relate, what to look for, and if you are a candidate for an exam.

What is Snoring?



Snoring develops whenever the upper airway (Nose, Mouth/tongue, Palate, larynx and trachea) become restrictive. It can be caused from congenital or acquired deformities, infections, growths or even smoking. While it can be very noisy, the patient never stops breathing or awakens from sleep. Treatments directed towards the above will often be successful.


Snoring Can Be Harmful


Studies have shown that the life expectancy of snorers is less then that or non snorer. Even if it didn’t kill you your significant other might. If your snoring becomes worse it can turn into UARS or worse, Sleep Apnea.


Snoring and Sleep Apnea


Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, although not everyone who snores suffers from sleep apea, and not everyone who suffers from sleep apnea snores. Still, it is very common for people who snore to unkowingly have sleep apnea: 75% of people who snore are diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea at some point in their lives. If you or your loved one experiences pauses between snores, and if choking or gasping occurs between these pauses, your snoring may be caused by a blocked airway or respiratory malfunction.


Extreme Daytime Sleepiness



Extreme Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) is a condition that effects many of us.  Despite consumption of coffee or caffeinated energy drinks, those with this condition experience an overwhelming feeling of fatigue, lack of focus and inability to complete one’s tasks.  This occurs despite sleeping 7 or 8 hours per night.  Frequently, patients will take several naps throughout the day and still not feel adequately refreshed.  There are several conditions that present with EDS including:  Narcolepsy, Idiopathic Hypersomnia, Insomnia and Sleep Apnea.


Cessation of Breathing


At night if our airway obstructs, often we hear load gasping sounds with violent jerking body movements.   This indicates that the airflow is occluded and our oxygen is diminished. The Greek word apnea is a term describing a condition “without breath”.    Cessation of breathing (apnea), is a clear sign that a more serious sleep disorder exists.  Sleep testing is necessary to determine if there is obstructive,central or mixed sleep apnea.


Awaken with Dry Throat


The dry throat develops if you are a mouth breather.  If you snore or have Obstructive Sleep Apnea your mouth remains open throughout the night.  During the winter months, the dry heat from the forced air or radiator will increases the irritation that you feel in your throat.  Humidification may reduce this discomfort.

Memory Loss



Restful sleep is important in maintaining one’s clear thinking and long term memory.  During each night our deep sleep provides a cleansing of the brains waste byproducts; readying it for the next day.  It also helps to organize our thoughts into long term memories.

Where are our memories stored?

Memories are formed in the Mammillary bodies of the brain.  These are small structures on the under surface of the brain.  Research has shown the Mammillary bodies of Sleep Apnea patients are significantly smaller than that of normal patients.   Article




Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or maintain sleep throughout the night.  When it first develops it is called Acute Insomnia.  With insomnia, you usually awaken feeling unrefreshed, which takes a toll on your ability to function during the day.Acute Insomnia can develop after a severe disturbing event or from a conditioned response from poor Sleep Hygiene.  When these sleep issues last for longer periods it is called Chronic Insomnia.


Morning Headaches

If you frequently awaken in the morning with a headache you may want to consider being tested for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.   During the night as a result of the obstructions, your oxygen saturation can become decreased.   This results in the headache from the oxygen desaturation.

Facial muscle spasm is another common cause to morning headaches.   During airway obstruction, the mouth clenches as you gasp for air.  Often this causes excessive force on the jaw and temporal muscles.  The result is sharp pain in the temporal and frontal regions of the head.  Patients that have a preexisting history of “TMJ” are at risk for this condition.


Mood swings develop if you don’t have restful sleep.  It leads to a lack of energy, increased irritability and short temper.  During the night hormones are secreted to maintain our body’s necessary functions.  If sleep is interrupted it can hinder the process and alter our mental function.  Growth Hormone and Cortisol are just a few of the important hormones effected by obstructed sleep.

Decreased Libido

Libido is tired to the presence of Testosterone.  Throughout the day, it is secreted every 90 minutes but reaches its lowest level in the afternoon.  During the night the secretion peaks just prior Rem sleep continues production throughout the Rem periods (Dreaming Sleep).  If sleep is interrupted then Testosterone is reduced. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is increased during Sleep Apnea.  This hormone in levels reduces the production of Testosterone as well.


Sleep and Depression are closely related to each other.  We know that a loss of sleep effects can affect ones mood and when this occurs long enough it can turn into Depression.  Post-Menopausal women who are overweight and symptoms of depression should be screened for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  In a government study that examined 10,000 adults, they found that the more a person snorted, gasped for air or stopped breathing, the more likely they were to have symptoms of depression.   Sleep disorders can also be caused from Depression.  Often Insomnia is the first symptom that a depressive patient presents with.  Over time, these patients may go on to develop depression.  Generally, the treatment for depression does not control the Insomnia.  It requires its own treatment.

Awaken Frequent to Urinate

Nocturia is defined as the frequent need to get up at night to go to the bathroom.  It is a common presenting symptom and is found in 80% of Obstructive Sleep Apneapatients.  Most people think that it is because they had too much to drink or drank something too late at night.  Others feel that they just have a small bladder that can’t last the whole night.  What is most likely occurring is that the patient is suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  As a result of these obstructions, hormones are released that directly act on the bladder to cause contractions.  This results in the feeling of urgency when one awakens from the obstructions.  Additionally, Polyurea or increased volume of urine is found in Apnea patients. Research has shown higher volumes of urine produced during the night in patient’s suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea.