Between 30 and 50 million people in the United States have some form of sleep apnea, and more and more people are being diagnosed with it each year. As awareness of the condition grows, people begin to wonder whether or not their sleep problems could be symptoms of sleep apnea. For those who are searching for answers, we decided to provide a little bit more information about what those with untreated sleep apnea may feel like.
Before we start, it is worth mentioning that many of the traits common in sleep apnea are present in other sleep disorders as well. Untreated sleep apnea sufferers feel tired throughout the day, but the same could be said of insomniacs; there are many sleep disorders, and it’s impossible to accurately diagnose what your exact problem is without a sleep test. Likewise, you should also know that the presence of snoring – the principle symptom associated with sleep apnea – is not always an indication of sleep apnea. Many people without any sort of sleep disorder snore all night long, so the mere presence of snoring should not give you the impression that you have a medical issue. It is only when you see a pattern of symptoms, or a particularly severe symptom, that you should consider seeking medical attention.
There are a number of symptoms that a sleep apnea sufferer may feel throughout the day, but they all come back to a feeling of unrest. Those with sleep apnea are likely to feel unbearably tired throughout the day: it is not unusual for such a person to fall asleep at their desk or worse, while they’re driving. They will likely nap often, and they may even dip into sleep in the midst of a conversation. Likely, they will feel irritable off and on throughout the day, and this particular symptom may cause some emotional distress if they sense that their personal relationships are deteriorating. Not every person with sleep apnea will feel so dramatically tired, but most do feel fatigued often and many try to nap regularly.
We talked about this briefly already, but while someone with sleep apnea almost always snore, the reverse is not true. Mild snoring is perfectly normal, and even the occasional spell of heavy snoring is not unusual in people without any sleep problems. Severe snoring, however, could be an indication of a problem. People with sleep apnea will often snore extremely loudly in an effort to get air through their windpipes and into their lungs. This snoring is characterized by excessive volume and the occasional cessation of breathing, periods that can stretch upwards of thirty seconds. The primary emphasis here though is the frequency and the volume of the snoring: people with sleep apnea snore every night, and they do so at an impressive volume. One of our customers even reported waking up hotel guests in adjacent rooms not just once, but twice!
It may seem unfair, but many children have sleep apnea too. In addition to the symptoms above, many children with sleep apnea may also exhibit symptoms of hyperactivity. Sleep apnea prevents people from progressing through a natural sleep cycle, and as such, certain hormones and enzymes aren’t released properly. For some children, this perversely affects their ability to regulate their temperament and ability to stay calm. Many children with sleep apnea are also short in stature: unable to sleep naturally, their bodies are unable to release growth hormones that allow them to reach their projected height.
Again, these are just some of the prevalent symptoms associated with sleep apnea. If you feel that many of these apply to you – particularly the groggy feeling throughout the day coupled with excessive snoring – you may want to seek medical treatment. If you do feel this way, don’t panic: there are treatment options available, and you will be able to feel better almost overnight!