Friday Five: Common signs of sleep apnea

Updated Aug 12, 2014

Are you afraid you may have sleep apnea but hesitant to get tested? While seeking a medical professional’s opinion is best, here are five signs that you may have the disorder:

Loud, chronic snoring

This is one of the most common signs of obstructive sleep apnea. The snoring may include pauses and choking or gasping. It is, however, important to remember that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.

Louder snoring when you sleep on your back

It may ease off when you sleep on your side, and it may not happen every night.

You are unable to judge the severity of the problem yourself

Because this happens when you’re asleep, you likely will not realize that it’s happening or how bad it is. Family members or bed partners often recognize the signs first.

Daytime sleepiness

This can be especially tough while driving. If you find yourself falling asleep at the wheel even after eight to ten hours of sleep, it may be a sign that your sleep is not as restful as it should be.

Mood swings

Another common sign of sleep apnea is mood swings and feeling irritable or depressed.

People with sleep apnea may suffer from one, several or all of these symptoms. If you think you could have the disorder, best get checked out by your doctor, who can help you come up with a way to overcome it.

Information from the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute.