5 Overlooked Signs Of Sleep Apnea


African American woman in bed


Evaluating our own sleep is difficult because well, we’re asleep. While we may notice “small” things like waking up to cough or catch our breath, these symptoms are often dismissed about as soon as we fall back into a deep sleep. Sleep apnea speculations are usually brought on by a loved one who has noticed that you have an abnormal breathing pattern while you’re asleep or worse, your sleeping pattern has disrupted their ability to sleep altogether. While these concerns are often addressed in a humorous manner initially, sleep apnea is no laughing matter.

READ: Consequences of Sleep Deprivation

Being sleep deficient can lead to a number of serious illnesses. Sleep apnea alone can increase the risk for high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, obesity and diabetes according to the HeartBEAT study.

Here are some signs that may mean you’re due for a sleep test.

1. Morning headaches

Morning headaches are a very common sign of sleep apnea.

“It started with waking up with severe headaches where taking Advil or other over the counter medicine did not help… Obviously, I never put two and two together to recognize that I was having an issue. Today, I sleep with a CEPAP machine. I no longer have headaches and I have lost about twenty pounds,” said Janice Elliot-Howard, author of The Confident Tells.

READ: What Happens If Sleep Apnea Is Left Untreated?

2. Daytime sleepiness

Sleep apnea affects your ability to get a good nights sleep. So, experiencing daytime sleepiness, i.e., falling asleep anytime you’re in a quiet and comfortable position during normal daytime activities, may be a sign of sleep apnea.

It’s common for those with sleep apnea to feel as though they’ve gotten a full night’s sleep, regardless of the many interruptions. So, they may not associate feeling tired with symptoms of sleep apnea, according to MayoClinic.