Do you feel tired and exhausted even after a seemingly good 8-hour night’s sleep? If you often wake up with headaches and suffer from fatigue and daytime sleepiness, you might be affected by a chronic condition known as sleep apnea.
In general, there are two types of sleep apnea and their symptoms tend to overlap. Patients, suffering from sleep apnea, usually complain of poor sleep quality, abrupt awakenings during the night, as well as insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness. However, the best way to know for sure whether you have sleep apnea is to ask the person you share a bed with. Spouses and partners are often amongst the first to notice the signs, such as snoring, gasping, pauses in breathing and choking during the course of the night. Due to the specifics of their condition, patients with sleep apnea often wake up gasping for air. These breathing cessation episodes might last for around 10 seconds and reoccur hundreds of times during the night.
Mood swings and feelings of depression and irritability are often associated with a poor night’s sleep and can be regarded as signs of sleep apnea. If you want to test yourself for sleep apnea, ask your partner or roommate to pay attention to your breathing during the course of the night. Other clues that you might be suffering from sleep apnea are a sore throat and dry mouth early in the morning, as well as morning headaches, memory or learning difficulties and decreased concentration.
Testing for Sleep Apnea
Home sleep testing is amongst the most certain ways to diagnose sleep apnea. These tests are usually prescribed by your doctor and include measurements of the heart rate, blood oxygen level, airflow and breathing patterns. If you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, your blood oxygen levels will drop and rise during apneas and awakenings, respectively.