A lot happens while you are sleeping. During this time, you not only dream, but you also continue breathing. For many Americans, breathing is frequently disrupted during sleep, which results in hindered quality of sleep. Poor or diminished sleep quality directly correlates to how you function throughout your day. You may feel physically sluggish or especially fatigued. These may be signs of sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder affecting breathing and sleep quality.
Sleep apnea can be tricky to identify, as the most prominent symptoms appear during sleep. How are you to know what your body does when it is at rest? The key here is to ask your sleeping partner to watch for these signs of sleep apnea:
- Frequent sudden awakenings during the night
These may be so brief you do not even remember them. Oftentimes, people will suddenly catch their breaths, maybe even open their eyes, and then return once again to sleeping.
- Loud, disruptive snoring
This is where identifying sleep apnea gets a little tricky. Many people assume snoring is no cause for concern—annoying, sure, but one of the signs of sleep apnea? The answer is: pay attention to snoring. If it is prolonged and heavy, mention this to your doctor. Be especially concerned if any gasping or choking accompanies snoring at night. Ask your partner for details on the sounds you make during sleep and to alert you should they change at all.
For those who do not have the luxury of a bedfellow, you may find keeping a sleep diary a helpful way to track your nighttime behavior. Every morning, try to record how many hours you sleep at night, if you experienced any awakenings, and how you feel, as far as energy level goes. Try to make regular entries into your sleep diary for at least 2 weeks. Recording yourself, whether on video or audio, can alert you to any strange noises you might be making or other signs of sleep apnea.
If you or your partner exhibits sleep apnea signs, call today to schedule a consultation with our sleep apnea doctor.