Skip Nav
How to Eat Healthy Without Cooking
Healthy Living
5 Ways to Eat Healthy When You Just Don't Have the Time (or Energy) to Cook
How to Do a Rotational Medicine Ball Slam and Toss
Workouts
Train Like an Athlete and Strengthen Your Core With This Powerful, Full-Body Exercise
Weight Loss
If You're Stuck in a Fat-Loss Plateau, Do These 11 Things to Break Through
What to Eat at Every Meal to Lose Weight
Weight Loss
This Is What You Should Be Eating at Each Meal to Lose Weight
Best Way to Reduce Hunger
Weight Loss
If You Constantly Feel Hungry, You Might Be Making This Crucial Mistake During Meals

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

This Sleep Disorder Could Be the Reason You're So Damn Tired All the Time

You might be a stickler when it comes to your sleep habits — avoiding certain foods and drinks that can mess with your sleep, practising meditation and other breathing methods to help you unwind, and even investing in a weighted blanket to help you fall asleep faster. But if you do all of these things and still wake up groggy — or with a dry throat, feeling like you're hungover even when you didn't drink the night before — you may not be getting the restful hours of sleep you imagine.

Obstructive sleep apnea — the most common form of sleep apnea — is a sleep disorder in which the airway is repeatedly blocked during the night, disrupting your sleep.

"When we sleep, the muscles in the body relax, including the muscles in our airway. However, with this relaxation comes a narrower airway," Sujay Kansagra, MD, Mattress Firm's sleep health expert and the director of Duke University's Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program, told POPSUGAR. "When the airway is so narrow that the movement of air leads to a vibration, this results in snoring. But when the airway becomes so narrow that it is blocked, breathing can be obstructed causing the brain to wake you up."

Joseph Ojile, MD, D.ABSM, FCCP, CEO, founder, and medical director of The Clayton Sleep Institute, explained that the most common symptoms of sleep apnea are:

  • Episodes of waking up multiple times at night
  • Loud snoring while sleeping
  • Gasping while sleeping
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Feeling irritable during the day
  • Persistent dry mouth when waking up
  • Morning headaches

Dr. Ojile told POPSUGAR that certain factors can increase the risk of sleep apnea, including excess weight; a larger neck circumference; use of alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilisers; smoking; and frequent nasal congestion. Ageing in general can also be a factor, as throat tissue begins to loosen.

While having sleep apnea doesn't necessarily cause other health problems, there's a definite link between the condition and a number of even more serious diseases. "Obstructive sleep apnea appears to increase the risk for diseases such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and stroke," Dr. Ojile said. In other words, this isn't something you want to take lightly.

According to report published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, approximately 5.9 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, but there are 23.5 million who remain undiagnosed. If you think you may have sleep apnea, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. She can determine if you need a sleep study and work with you to develop a treatment plan, which may include the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help safeguard your breathing while you sleep, according to Dr. Kansagra.

Image Source: Getty / Klaus Vedfelt
More from POPSUGAR
From Our Partners
How to Eat Healthy Without Cooking
Is the Whole30 Diet Healthy?
Why Therapy Is Self-Care
Is Kombucha Bad For Your Teeth?
Tone It Up’s Katrina Scott on Losing Weight After Birth
What Is the Clean Program?
Healthy Baking Recipes
Carbs in Popular Cheeses
Cheap Meal Prep Ideas
Life Lessons Learnt Playing Team Sport
What Are Weighted Blankets
Intermittent Fasting Side Effects
From Our Partners
Latest Health & Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds