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: charlene, 65-74 (Patient) Published: November 26

I have had sleep apnea for years now. It was diagnosed by my daughter who said I snored all night and she told me I stopped breathing. I had the sleep study and started using my machine. I spent another weekend with my daughter who said I snored all night with my CPAP on. I went back to doctor, turned it up to 16. Last time I spent with my daughter she said no more snoring. I go on vacation with it and would not sleep without it.

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Comment from: Chrisypots, 19-24 Male (Caregiver) Published: February 07

My son, who has the condition of cerebral palsy, was very hard to wake up from sleep. He would be limp as a rag doll and could not be awakened. We could see that he was taking extremely shallow breaths when he would be in this state. His coloring was never good either. He always looked pale to me for weeks before his diagnosis. Finally, after two ICU stays, we got the diagnosis of central sleep apnea. I cannot even tell you the difference that the apnea machine has made. My son has a life again because of it! Getting used to it did take some time but it has made a huge difference in his quality of life. Unbelievable!

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