A person who has obstructive sleep apnea often is not the first to recognize the signs. Often, bed partner or family members who observe the patient at rest witness the periods of apnea.
A person with obstructive sleep apnea usually begins snoring heavily soon after falling asleep. The snoring is then interrupted by a long silent period during which there is no breathing. This is followed by a loud snort and gasp, as the person attempts to breathe. This pattern repeats.
Many patients wake up unrefreshed in the morning and feel sleepy or drowsy throughout the day. This is called excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).
The most common obstructive sleep apnea symptoms in patients may include:
- Snoring, usually loud and bothersome to others
- Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening
- Headaches in the morning
- Act grumpy, impatient, or irritable
- Trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, depression, or irritability
- Fall asleep while working, reading, or watching TV
- Feel sleepy while driving, or even fall asleep while driving
- Night sweats
- Restlessness during sleep
- Sexual dysfunction
- Sudden awakenings with a sensation of gasping or choking
- Difficulty getting up in the mornings