On a daily basis you probably don’t think much about your breathing patterns or if you’re breathing at all, especially in your sleep. In fact, it’s safe to assume that you think you breath the entire night, right?
That isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, a common condition called sleep apnea can cause you stop breathing in your sleep and it effects up to 7% of adult men. These stops of breath, called apneas, last at least 10 seconds at a time, but can go up to 20 to 30 seconds or even longer.
Having up to four apneas an hour is considered normal by medical researchers but once this pattern increases above 5 to 15 (in extreme cases the apneas can reach even 60 per hour) you’re officially dealing with sleep apnea, a disruptive and dangerous condition.
Patients that deal with sleep apnea for a long period of time without proper treatment have shown symptoms of irregular heartbeats and hypertension that could lead to strokes and heart attacks.
Therefore, it’s necessary to start the treatments so that the risks can be reduced. But first, you need to know symptoms to know if there’s something up with you.
Here Are 7 Signs That You Might Have Sleep Apnea:
1. You’re tired all the time – being exhausted all the time is one of the most classic symptoms of sleep apnea. When someone stops breathing, even if it’s just for a little while, the brain sends out a “distress call” and you are actually waking up and disrupting your sleep cycles, even if you are not fully aware.
2. Your snoring is really loud – an annoyingly loud snoring is the second classic symptom of sleep apnea even though not all patients present this symptom. The loud snoring is often accompanied by constant gasping, struggle to breath and snorting.
3. You can sleep anytime, anywhere – if you can doze off anywhere, at anytime this can point to extreme apnea-related exhaustion. Because your sleep cycles are constantly disrupted, most of the patients tend to sleep easily at any given time. It’s not normal to sleep when you don’t want to.
4. You’re moody and suffer from memory loss – your mood changes drastically and very fast and you have difficulty remembering the smallest things and your concentration dwindles. All these symptoms are a direct result of your sleep deprivation. When you constantly wake up, your body isn’t getting into the deep sleep and it isn’t getting the proper rest to fully function.
5. You wake up with a massive headache – when you stop breathing at night, you’re being deprived of oxygen and your brain won’t function properly, leaving you with a massive headache on the next morning that can rival a very bad hangover.
6. You constantly wake up to pee at night – waking up to pee during the night may stem from a diverse number of causes, including sleep apnea. When you wake up multiple times during the night, your body realized its need to pee and since you are in a light stage of your sleeping pattern, chances are that you will get up and go.
7. You wake up with a scratchy throat or a dry mouth – this is directly correlated to the loud open-mouth snoring that can stem from this condition. When you breathe through your mouth, your saliva production dwindles and you mouth will dry out, leaving a very scratchy throat and a dry mouth when you wake up.
If one or more of the symptoms listed above sound familiar, please search for a doctor and start the treatment as soon as possible.
If you think you might have some of these symptoms you can take our quiz to see if you’re at low or high risk based on the symptoms you know about.
Either way, if you’re concerned, the next step is to perform a sleep study (either in a lab or in your home) to count the number of apenas you have in a sleeping period. If the final count is more than 5 apneas per hour, your doctor will present treatment options depending on the severity of your condition and what might be causing it.