9 warning signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Most sleep apnea sufferers go undiagnosed because they are unaware they have a sleep-related breathing disorder. Unfortunately, sleep apnea signs and symptoms are not always obvious, and many cases are not discovered by the sufferer but by a loved one.

Here are a few of the signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA):

1. You wake up feeling tired or drowsy during the day

If you suffer from chronic interruptions to your deep restorative sleep coupled with oxygen deprivation while asleep, you will eventually feel weary and tired throughout the day.

So, if you wake up feeling unrefreshed and struggle to stay awake during the day despite having a whole night of sleep, you may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

Good quality sleep promotes the healthy functioning of a broad range of vital body functions. Whereas inadequate sleep may significantly influence one’s health, leading to several disorders ranging from hormone disturbance to immunological failure.

2. You snore while sleeping

Snoring, snorting, and gasping for air are all common sleep apnea warning signs. The louder the snore, the higher the likelihood of sleep apnea.

Most often, the person snoring is not even aware that they do, and it is usually the bed partner that identifies that the sufferer has a problem. However, it’s important to note that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.

3. You toss and turn at night

Tossing and turning uncomfortably during sleep is a common finding in obstructive sleep apnea. Getting good sleep is often difficult for people who suffer from sleep apnea, and restlessness is often the result of the brain sending signals to wake up and resume breathing.

4. You wake up to go to the bathroom multiple times a night

When it comes to key warning symptoms of sleep apnea, waking up at night to use the bathroom is as prevalent as snoring. This can be a strong sign of sleep apnea, especially if a person is not drinking excessive fluids before bed.

However, waking up once or twice a night to use the bathroom is typical for the general population. It’s only when it becomes excessive that you should be concerned.

5. You wake up with a dry mouth

Waking up in the morning with a dry mouth or the feeling of a sore throat is common in obstructive sleep apnea sufferers and can be seen as a warning sign.

This is usually because of sleeping with an open mouth or open-mouth breathing that dries out the airway.

6. You have a stiff jaw and headache in the morning

When you have pauses in your breathing due to the airway collapsing during sleep, your brain sends a signal to the muscles in the jaw to move in order to open the airways so that the oxygen supply to the lungs can be re-established.

These repetitive jaw movements can lead to pain within the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the muscles within the head and neck resulting in morning headaches.

7. You are forgetful and struggle to concentrate

Consistent poor-quality sleep can affect the way your brain functions over time. For example, people with sleep apnea have disruptive and poor sleep that can lead to brain fog and forgetfulness during the day.

Other indications can be a weakened immune system and difficulty concentrating on your work. 

8. Your partner says you have pauses in your breathing while asleep, followed by choking/gasping

Apnea episodes refer to periods of snoring, followed by pauses in breathing and then gasping for breath. These can occur hundreds of times in one night of sleep, disrupting your and your partner’s sleep. 

9. You have acid reflux

Having acid reflux can cause obstructions to the airways that bring on snoring and sleep apnea at night. On the other hand, pressure in your lungs due to sleep apnea can cause greater acid reflux.

The two are intrinsically linked and can cause significant discomfort if not addressed.

Obstructive sleep apnea is not a condition that should be ignored. While snoring can be a warning sign, sleep apnea is more than just snoring.

A thorough screening with your dentist at JJS Dentistry, followed by a complete sleep study if necessary, can assist you in determining the cause of your problems. If you have sleep apnea, we will develop a custom treatment plan to address your symptoms, improve your sleep, help you feel better and achieve greater overall health and vitality.

For further information on sleep apnea, diagnosis and treatment, schedule your Sleep consultation at JJS Dentistry.

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