Sleep apnea is an extreme form of sleeping disorder. People suffering from this grave medical condition stop breathing in their sleep. Sleep disruptions can be infrequent if you are lucky, while in extreme cases your sleep may be interrupted hundreds of times per night which can impair your mental health as your brain tends to receive insufficient oxygen. Here are 10 signs, which can indicate that you could have sleep apnea.
Jarring and loud snoring is usually the first sign associated with sleep apnea. A person struggling with sleep apnea will often look for professional assistance because their sleeping partner is disturbed by their poor sleeping habits. Snoring happens when air going out or in the patient’s nose or mouth is blocked.
Periodic Gasping or Choking
Not every person who snores is suffering from sleep apnea. But when an individual’s snores produce choking or gasping sounds throughout the night, it is a strong indication that they are suffering from sleep apnea. This unhealthy combination of choking, gasping and snoring is your body’s reaction to a shortage of oxygen.
Inability to Fall or Stay Asleep
Insomnia, among other issues, is another symptom of sleep apnea. These issues can be emotional, such as social anxiety or depression, or physical, like sleep apnea. A popular theory attributes sleep apnea to insomnia, as the individual is cognizant of the fact that their breathing stops at night, which triggers a high level of anxiety.
Sleep apnea patients rarely get a good night’s sleep, because it requires alternating cycles of REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep. This condition prevents your body from cycling back and forth between these 2 kinds of sleep cycles, which impairs sleep quality.
Sore Throat in the Morning
Patients of sleep apnea tend to wake up with a sore or dry throat, as their mouths stay open during the better part of the night. When you sleep with your mouth ajar, it causes the mucus membranes in the throat to dry out.
Poor sleeping habits also promote weight gain. When we are sleep-starved, our bodies tend to generate excessive amounts of a hormone called Ghrelin, which prompts you to eat.
Feeling Drowsy Throughout the Day
Sleep apnea has the tendency to interfere with our ability to sleep well, so feeling down and out during the day is a clear symptom.
When you don’t get quality sleep, it messes with your ability to concentrate and focus. Sleep apnea sufferers often become increasingly scatterbrained or forgetful. This lack of focus can impair your ability to learn and may lead to angry or hyperactive behavior.
Sleep deprivation can lead to feelings of anxiety, irritability, depression and impatience, irrespective of whether it is triggered by sleep apnea or other sleeping disorders. The constant tiredness that sleep apnea patients experience can grow into full-blown depression.
Loss of Libido
Testosterone, the famous hormone linked with a person’s sex drive, increases when we sleep. When your sleep is frequently disturbed, testosterone levels diminish, and your libido decreases.