How Do I Know if I Have Sleep Apnea?

by / / Tips

Have you been feeling fatigued lately? Does it seem like, no matter how early you go to bed, you wake up feeling exhausted, as if you didn’t sleep at all? These symptoms are very closely associated with a number of sleep disorders, but principal among them is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

OSA is caused by an obstruction in the upper airways, arresting your breathing while you sleep. It’s marked by irregular and/or loud snoring and prolonged pauses in breathing. These pauses are usually followed by the sleeper struggling to breathe, coughing, and/or waking up and beginning to breathe again, starting the whole process over.

Of course, the only way to tell for sure that you have OSA or any other sleep disorder is to have a sleep study performed, in which you’ll go to a sleep clinic (recommended) or hospital and have professionals record everything that goes on with your body and your breathing patterns while you sleep. However, you can get a pretty good idea of whether or not you have OSA based on a few symptoms.

If one or more of these symptoms or scenarios sounds familiar, you may have OSA. If you suspect that you have this or any other sleep disorder, we highly recommend signing up for a sleep study  so that you can get properly diagnosed and proceed with proper treatment.

You Often Wake Up in the Morning with a Headache

Because the oxygen supply to your brain is cut off frequently throughout the night, sleep apnea can cause morning headaches, which tend to pass within a few minutes or a few hours. Subjects of a study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine who had more severe cases of sleep apnea showed more frequent and longer-lasting headaches than subjects with less severe cases.

Your Spouse Is Bothered by Your Snoring

If you have sleep apnea, your spouse probably noticed the change in your breathing long before you noticed anything. They’ve probably also already complained that your snoring is unbearable or expressed concern about your struggles to breathe when you’re sleeping. If they haven’t said anything yet, ask them about it. They may be too kind to say something harsh to you about your loud snores, but if you prompt them, they’ll probably admit that it’s pretty bad.

You Wake Up Gasping for Air

If you’ve woken up in the middle of the night, gasping for breath and feeling winded, you probably just caught yourself after an apnea-induced pause in your breathing. This is a telltale sign that you should seek a sleep study and treatment ASAP.

You Have High Blood Pressure and/or You’re Overweight

People with high blood pressure and people who are overweight or obese are at a much higher risk for OSA than people with lower blood pressure and normal body weight for their size. If you struggle with your blood pressure and/or weight, and you’ve experienced any of the other symptoms listed here, you most likely have OSA.

Getting Help

If you suspect that you have OSA, don’t put off getting diagnosed and starting treatment. The sooner you go in for a sleep study, the sooner you can start feeling more rested and stop waking your spouse up in the middle of the night with your snoring.

We recommend going to a qualified sleep clinic for your study, as the environment is much more conducive to natural sleep than a hospital, and the experts on staff are much more focused on you and your needs. With a proper diagnosis, you could be on the road to a better quality of life in no time. For more information on the services offered at our Sleep Rite locations, please call (888) 375-3378.