FEBRUARY 12, 2024 – Does your snoring wake you up at night? Or even worse, is your loud breathing and snoring keeping your partner awake? If so, either of these scenarios can result in unpleasant mornings. Snoring and sleep apnea typically go hand-in-hand.
However, just because you’re a night-time snorer this doesn’t mean you also have sleep apnea. So, how do you know if your snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea? There are a few other warning signs associated with the sleep disorder.
What is Sleep Apnea
Okay, so you know if you snore it doesn’t automatically mean you also have sleep apnea—however, snoring is a common symptom. But, what is sleep apnea? Does the condition only mean you make a miserable sleeping partner?
Sleep apnea is classified as a sleep disorder and it can be serious. Basically, sleep apnea causes your breathing to briefly stop and restart. Yes, the idea of your breathing stopping while you’re sleeping is scary. After all, breathing is a necessity. This is a reason why individuals diagnosed with this sleep disorder are often under medical care.
There’s more than one type of sleep apnea which can make diagnosing the condition a little more difficult:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of the condition. If your throat muscles relax while you’re sleeping, blocking airflow to your lungs, you may have OSA.
- Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs when your brain isn’t sending the correct signals to your muscles controlling your breathing.
- Treatment-emergent central sleep apnea or complex sleep apnea can occur if you’re diagnosed with OSA but the condition turns into CSA due to your body’s reaction to the OSA therapy.
Diagnosing sleep apnea can be a complicated process. There’s a good chance you’ll need to participate in a sleep study before receiving the diagnosis.
Did you know correctly diagnosing and treating sleep apnea can improve other health conditions like heart problems? This is just one more reason to speak to a medical professional about your sleep condition. That’s if occasionally not breathing while sleeping isn’t reason enough for concern.
Common Sleep Apnea Signs
So, how do you know if you have sleep apnea? As mentioned earlier, an effective way of diagnosing the condition is by participating in a sleep study. After all, it’s difficult to gauge your symptoms while you’re sleeping.
You can only go so far even if you set up an audio and video recording system over your bed. You probably also don’t want to ask your partner to stay awake all night recording your sleep habits, since this is rarely a good way to strengthen your relationship.
While the symptoms of the sleep disorder can vary, there are some common signs. These can include the following.
You Snore and Gasp at Night
If your partner is constantly complaining about your snoring, gasping, and even snorting at night, this can indicate your airway is blocked while you’re sleeping. However, don’t automatically presume your snoring means you have sleep apnea.
Some people simply snore at night for a variety of reasons. A cold or allergies can cause snoring. If you enjoy one too many alcoholic beverages before bedtime, snoring can be an unfortunate side effect, along with an unpleasant morning hangover.
With that being said, snoring is a common symptom sleep apnea sufferers share. You may want to ask your partner if your snoring is steady or punctuated by gaps in your breathing. This is often a stronger indicator that you’re suffering from sleep apnea.
You’re a Restless Sleeper
Tossing and turning at night may only mean you need a better mattress. You may also be sleeping in an overcrowded bed, a common problem with pet owners. Even a small dog can take up an amazing amount of space. When it comes to cats, they can easily end up on your pillow leaving you tossing and turning as you try to get comfortable.
While pets, lumpy mattresses, and even room temperature can also affect sleep quality, sleep apnea can also result in restless sleep habits. If your bedding is constantly tangled in the morning or your tossing and turning is waking you up throughout the night, this can indicate you have a form of sleep apnea. The tossing and turning at night is often caused by the temporary pauses in your breathing.
You’re Never Fully Rested
There will always be some mornings when there isn’t enough coffee in the world for you to fully wake up. This can happen to anyone. Sometimes, you may be feeling tired due to a late night or even your bedtime medication. Stress can also affect sleep quality and zap your energy before you even get going in the morning.
If you’re constantly tired every morning and can’t remember the last TV show you watched without falling asleep, this can be a sign of sleep apnea. You’re constantly feeling tired from your restless nights. Trying to sleep when breathing is difficult is a classic example of a futile exercise. If you’re breathing is stopping off and on, your body’s going to respond and this means not sleeping through the night.
You’re Predisposed to Developing the Sleep Disorder
Yes, some people are at a greater risk of developing sleep apnea than others. So, how do you know if you fall into this category? Start by thinking about your gender. Men are more likely to develop sleep apnea than women. Why? Researchers are still conducting studies. However, the risk for women significantly increases after going through menopause.
Are you overweight or obese? Along with the myriad of other potential health issues that come with being overweight, add sleep apnea to the list.
What to Do if You Believe You’re Suffering from Sleep Apnea
Don’t just chalk your snoring up to an annoying habit, it can indicate a more serious sleep disorder. If you suspect you may be suffering from sleep apnea, make an appointment with your physician.
Discuss your concerns and inquire about participating in a sleep study. There are treatment options that can help you sleep throughout the night.