If you notice any of the following less obvious sleep apnoea symptoms, talk to your doctor.
1. You’re sleepy all day
If you’re tired 24/7, don’t just chalk it up to a busy life.
“A lot of people feel tired, but don’t know why and attribute it to lack of sleep, among other things,” says Boris Chernobilsky, MD, director of sleep and airway surgery at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City.
Daytime sleepiness is one of the most common sleep apnoea symptoms, but men with sleep apnoea tend to report daytime sleepiness more often than women, says Dr. Chernobilsky.
Both obstructive sleep apnoea (muscles relax during sleep, causing soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the airway) and central sleep apnoea (the brain fails to signal your body to breathe) lead to disrupted sleep.
Patients wake up frequently throughout the night but they don’t always remember it. They just feel sleepy all day.
Few things are as coveted as good sleep: studies show that it adds years to your life and, over time, increases happiness as much as winning the lottery.
2. You wake up with a headache
If you start each day with a pounding head (and didn’t have one too many beers the night before), lack of sleep caused by sleep apnoea might be to blame.
Even if you did get the recommended seven to eight hours, sleep apnoea disrupts your sleep.
Shockingly, people with severe sleep apnoea can awaken hundreds of times each night, according to the US-based Stanford Centre for Sleep Sciences and Medicine.
Identifying which type of headache you have is the first step to pain relief.
3. More nighttime trips to the bathroom
“Many people wake up in the middle of the night and don’t know why, so they’ll think maybe it’s because they need to pee,” says Dr. Chernobilsky.
Though that may sometimes be the case, many patients are just searching for the reason they’re awake and don’t actually have the urge to go, he says.
While the term ‘overactive bladder’ may be used to avoid the awkwardness surrounding incontinence, the reality is up to 25 percent of women and 5 percent of men under 65 – more among the elderly – experience a type of urinary incontinence at some point.
Follow these tips to help stay dry.