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Sleep apnea symptoms

Sleep apnea symptoms: facts you need to know

Sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSA) is a fairly common sleep disorder. Fatigue, memory problems and chronic snoring are common symptoms of sleep apnea. Patients often wake up suddenly, choking or gasping for air due to an inability to breathe. This condition can have a serious impact on work, relationships and overall quality of life. In fact, people with sleep apnea tend to suffer from daytime sleepiness, which can be the cause of many accidents. It can also contribute to the risk of heart attack, high blood pressure and diabetes problems. All that to say, if not treated properly, sleep apnea can be dangerous. 


Many people with sleep apnea don’t know that they have it, as they may only experience the lesser known symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. If you often feel tired and suffer from any of the above symptoms, consult one of our sleep specialists for a sleep assessment. Based on your condition, he or she may recommend a sleep study and can outline a treatment plan that is right for you.

Sleep Apnea vs Snoring 

Sleep apnea is usually associated with snoring. However, it is possible to suffer from snoring without having sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is characterized by airway obstruction causing pauses in breathing and a decrease in blood oxygenation. Many factors contribute to snoring, including age, being overweight, respiratory diseases and alcohol consumption. 


Other physiological characteristics can also predispose someone to sleep apnea, such as narrow nasal cavities, a jaw that is too small, or a chin that is too far back.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

Generally, as a sleep disorder that is often confused with simple snoring, many people are unaware that they suffer from sleep apnea. They do not realize that during their sleep, their breathing stops several times through the night (breathing pauses). Sleep apnea also causes “micro-awakenings” that affect the quality of sleep. It is often a partner who first becomes aware of sleep apnea symptoms, as the sufferer may stay in a light sleep state.

Nighttime symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea

If you or your partner has obstructive sleep apnea, you will recognize a number of the following symptoms:

  • Snoring 
  • Breathing pauses
  • Frequently waking up during the night
  • Nighttime sweating

Daytime symptoms of sleep apnea

Because of the frequent nighttime awakenings that people with sleep apnea suffer from. It is common for people with sleep apnea to suffer from daytime sleepiness and associated symptoms. 


Some following symptoms may occur during the day:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Headaches 
  • Irritability 
  • Concentration and memory problems

Other symptoms of sleep apnea 


While sleep apnea syndrome occurs in people who are in the sleep phase, there is a link between insomnia and sleep apnea. Insomnia can be short-term or chronic. People with sleep apnea can also suffer from insomnia. Anyone with insomnia should be screened for sleep apnea to confirm a diagnosis.


People with a neck circumference greater than 17 inches are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea. Obesity increases many health risks, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition, being overweight increases the risk of sleep-disordered breathing in adults.


For people with sleep apnea, the need to go to the bathroom at night may be greater than normal, i.e., once or twice. Nocturia is waking up several times during the night to urinate. This phenomenon is explained by the fact that the body suddenly wakes up to breathe, following an apnea episode, the brain transmits false information to the body, while the heart secretes a substance that prompts the body to eliminate sodium and water – to urinate. When sleep apnea syndrome is the cause of nocturia, effective sleep apnea treatment can solve the problem.


You should see a sleep specialist if:

  • Your partner tells you that you snore or stop breathing at night
  • You feel drowsy during daytime even after a full night’s sleep
  • You have a dry mouth and throat every morning
  • You feel exhausted when you wake up in the morning
  • You have trouble falling asleep
  • You wake up short of breath at night

Sleep apnea consultation

As sleep apnea can be detrimental to your health and quality of life, it’s crucial that you see a sleep specialist if you’re experiencing symptoms. Call our sleep clinic today at (514) 360-7753 or click here to book your free consultation with one of our sleep doctors.