4 Signs You Could Have Sleep Apnea

Mar 20, 2023
4 Signs You Could Have Sleep Apnea
Most people know that excessive snoring is a sign of sleep apnea. But, how do you know if you snore while you’re asleep? Here are four other common symptoms of sleep apnea you can spot during your waking hours.

Sleep apnea is a condition in which you stop breathing in your sleep. In response, you wake up briefly to kickstart the breathing process again. This can occur for two primary reasons: Either you have a blockage in your airway — such as relaxed muscle tissue at the back of your throat — or your brain doesn’t control the breathing process correctly.

Regardless of what’s behind the issue, it’s essential to treat sleep apnea, because it causes a lack of oxygen in your system. If ignored, this can have potentially dangerous and life-threatening consequences.

Unfortunately, since it occurs during sleep, this can make it tricky to detect if you’re the one with the problem. However, there are signs you can detect during the day.

At Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine in Algonquin, Illinois, our team provides comprehensive testing and treatment for sleep apnea. In this blog, we explain four common signs of sleep apnea that you can recognize during the daytime. 

1. Waking with a dry mouth

A dry mouth may not seem like a cause for concern, but if you wake up every morning with this problem, it could mean you’re snoring excessively or breathing from your mouth all night long. 

Furthermore, studies show that people with more severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to experience dry mouth than those who have milder cases. So, if you find yourself desperate for a glass of water first thing in the morning, it’s time to see an expert.

2. Consistent morning headaches

Researchers believe up to 18% of people with obstructive sleep apnea start at least 15 days each month with a headache. The exact cause of these headaches isn’t known, but it could be due to low blood oxygen levels during sleep or the sleep disturbances experienced from lapses in breathing.

Sleep apnea-related headaches typically involve a pressing pain across both sides of the head, and they can last up to four hours at a time. And, unlike other forms of headaches, such as migraines, they don’t have additional symptoms, such as light and sound sensitivity or nausea.

Morning headaches from sleep apnea are slightly more common in people with moderate and severe forms of obstructive sleep apnea. They also occur more frequently in females

You also have a higher risk of developing other headache conditions, including cluster, hypnic, and migraine headaches, if you have sleep apnea.

3. Excessive daytime drowsiness

If you feel tired all day despite getting a full night’s sleep, it could be due to sleep apnea. This is because sleep apnea disrupts the sleep cycle and interferes with every stage of sleep. It causes you to wake up for brief periods throughout the night, which can leave you exhausted and foggy throughout the day.

In addition to being tired all the time, the fatigue that comes with sleep apnea can interfere with your productivity and immune function. The result? More colds than average and ones that can be harder to shake.

4. Mood changes

Feeling anxious? Irritable? Depressed? These mood changes are common signs of sleep apnea.

Believe it or not, mood disorders and sleep disorders often go hand in hand. In fact, up to 75% of people with depression struggle to fall or stay asleep. However, your chances of developing a mood disorder, such as depression, also increase exponentially if you struggle to sleep. Why? 

Because a lack of quality sleep can impact your emotional resiliency, which can make it harder to cope with everyday stresses and challenges.

Diagnosing and treating sleep apnea

Fortunately, there are treatments for sleep apnea. You can even do a sleep study in the comfort of your own home to help reach a diagnosis. The important thing is to pay attention to the warning signs so you can get the long-term relief you need to protect your health.

If you have sleep apnea and want treatment, or if you want to see if you have sleep apnea, we can help. We’ll give you a thorough evaluation and discuss your next steps. To learn more, call 815-584-0976 or book an appointment online with Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine today.