Sleep Apnea - Symptoms

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What are obstructive sleep apnea symptoms?

Obstructive sleep apnea has many well-studied consequences. First, as one would expect, it disrupts sleep. Patients with disrupted sleep cannot concentrate, think, or remember as well during the day. This has been shown to cause more accidents in the work place and while driving. Thus, people with obstructive sleep apnea have a three-fold greater risk of a car accident than the general population.

Sleep apnea symptoms at night time include:

  • Snoring, usually loud and bothersome to others
  • Gasping for air, witnessed apneas, or choking sensation
  • Insomnia
  • Restless sleep

Sleep apnea also can cause significant and sometimes serious daytime symptoms as a result of insufficient sleep at night, including:

  • daytime sleepiness
  • nonrestorative sleep (feeling as tired in the morning as before going to bed)
  • fatigue
  • frequent day time naps
  • headaches
  • irritability
  • poor memory and attention
  • confusion
  • mood and personality changes, such as depression and anxiety
  • sexual dysfunction

It is important to note that the bed partner of individuals with sleep apnea may also suffer from poor nighttime sleep and can have some of the same symptoms.

Return to Sleep Apnea

See what others are saying

Comment from: Duncan c., 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 14

I was tested for sleep apnea and had a sleeping machine with nasal tubes. I slept better and had a more quality sleep, but the hospital took it back because they said I only stop breathing 12/14 times a night. My sleep pattern is bad feel so tired and snoring is really bad.

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Comment from: scooter, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 29

I was diagnosed with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea 5 years ago. I'm female, was not obese, but was peri-menopausal. I began having panic issues while trying to sleep. It happened on 4 consecutive nights upon which I took myself to the emergency room (the 4th night). In addition, for about 3 to 5 years I had an episode just about every night where I would be awakened and feel like I had been run over by a freight train. I didn't associate it with sleep apnea, but it could definitely have been the atrial flutter that showed up on a Holter monitor in this same 'sleep study' timeframe. Cut to the chase, it took another approximately 3 months to get a full night sleep study. Before that I had had a 'take-home' type study that confirmed sleep apnea. I was prescribed CPAP therapy, which I use religiously. I don't nap unless I can access my machine. Doctors should routinely screen for this at least if a woman reports any sleep problems whatsoever, including insomnia. At the very least, a portable/wearable recording pulse oximeter could be worn for one or several nights. It would go a long way to helping a lot of people. I'm getting a 'tune-up' soon with a sleep specialist because I'm not feeling like I'm getting the full benefit of the CPAP therapy. And some health issues have surfaced that are tied to sleep apnea, but I am wanting to find out if this is the particular case for me.

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