Many people suffer from sleep apnea but, they are not even aware what exactly is affecting them. Actually, sleep apnea affects nearly two in ten women and more than three in ten men, so it is more common than you might imagine. Besides adults, sleep apnea can also affect toddlers and children, although some of the identifying signs and symptoms vary depending on age.

Symptoms of sleep apnea in adults 

If you have noticed some or all of these symptoms, then there is a high probability you suffering from sleep apnea.

  • Your bed partner attests that you snore loudly and occasionally stop breathing when you sleep
  • You sometimes wake up gasping for breath
  • Chocking while asleep
  • You repeatedly wake up to use the bathroom
  • You have insomnia
  • You usually wake up with a mild headache
  • You have excessive daytime sleepiness
  • You are irritable and often experience mood swings
  • You have concentration, attention, or memory problems while awake
  • You are experiencing sexual dysfunction or have a decreased interest in sex
  • You have risk factors synonymous with sleep apnea, such as being obese or overweight, smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol.

Symptoms of sleep apnea in children

10-20% of children who snore may be suffering from sleep apnea; this is according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Generally, about 3% of children in the world have sleep apnea. The majority of children with untreated sleep apnea suffer from adaptive, behavioral, and learning issues which are akin to the symptoms of ADHD:

  • Poor attention span
  • Difficulty in learning
  • Poor performance in school

In addition, look for these symptoms of sleep apnea in your child.

  • Snoring loudly
  • Breathing through the mouth while awake and asleep
  • Breathing pauses during sleep
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Bedwetting

Symptoms of sleep apnea in toddlers

If you believe your toddler may be having this disorder, look for these symptoms while they are sleeping:

  • Difficulty in breathing and snoring
  • Restlessness
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Sweating profusely
  • Coughing or choking

Also, be wary of these signs while they are awake:

  • Prone to frustration crankiness, and irritability
  • Tonsil or adenoid-related health issues
  • Falling asleep at inappropriate times
  • Growing more slowly as they are supposed to (both weight and height)

What next?

For any symptoms related to the above, it’s advisable to visit a sleep specialist to discuss your symptoms, concerns and potential treatment. The specialist will have some recommendations tailored to your specific situation. He/she can perform a polysomnogram or sleep study, to help diagnose the condition. This test monitors several things like eye movement, oxygen levels in the blood, breathing, and brain waves. Gasping sounds and snoring, as well as breathing pauses during sleep are also measured.