A sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea can be difficult to notice because symptoms happen during the middle of the night. Although you may not remember all the disruptions to your sleep, sleep apnea can severely diminish your quality of sleep. People with sleep apnea involuntarily stop breathing during sleep. It may be caused by a physical obstruction in the nose or throat or by a nervous condition that makes it difficult for the brain to tell your body to breathe. Any type of apnea can affect your mental and physical health throughout the day so look for signs during your conscious hours.
If you have unexplained fatigue even though you are sleeping between seven to nine hours a day, there may be something affecting the quality of your sleep. People with sleep apnea often notice this fatigue during the early hours of their day, when they want to go back to bed instead of launching into their morning routine. Fatigue occurs when your brain is unable to go into a deep sleep cycles due to the breathlessness of the apnea.
Not all people register fatigue in the same way. Instead of feeling tired, some people might just notice that their mood is changing. Many people with apnea report a higher than normal amount of irritability, grumpiness, and frustration. The sleep loss of apnea may also lead to a diminished drive for life, a lack of interest in previous hobbies, and depression. Those with a sleep problem frequently struggle to concentrate and focus on daily tasks.
Apnea can have some physical effects that make you feel uncomfortable, particularly in the morning. You may wake up with a sore or dry throat due to the unusual way that your body is breathing while you sleep. People who grind their teeth due to apnea may also have a sore jaw.
Apnea frequently causes morning headaches that fade by midday. Some people with sleep apnea may develop dark circles under their eyes if that is how their body responds to exhaustion. The stress of frequent fatigue can cause a person to develop high blood pressure or heart issues.
Disruptions to Sleep
Depending on the type of apnea you have, you may find that you either wake up constantly during the middle of the night or are unable to get to sleep at all. Some apnea patients find that they begin to drift off but suddenly feel alert for no reason as the body is struggling to get enough air. Others repeatedly wake up throughout the night. For some people, this might just feel like a random awakening, while others wake up choking or gasping.
People with apnea frequently toss and turn in their sleep and will wake up with tangled sheets and blankets around them. Depending on the type of apnea you have, you may snore extremely loudly. The snoring associated with apnea is typically loud enough to wake you or partner. If you sleep alone, however, you may not notice these symptoms until you take a sleep study.
If you think you may have sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with HollowBrook Sleep.