Sleep apnea side effects can be quite disturbing and disruptive, ultimately leading to more serious health issues, so it is very important to understand them and take steps to address the condition before it gets any worse. Here are some of the most common side effects of sleep apnea that you and your bed partner should be on the lookout for:
Snoring – of course snoring is the most common and recognizable side effect of sleep apnea, usually caused by suddenly gasping for air, but not all sleep apnea sufferers snore and not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. That being said, since it is a common side effect, if you or your partner regularly snore loudly it's worth mentioning to your doctor in case it is a sign of apnea.
Restlessness during sleep – this can be one of the more troubling sleep apnea side effects as it can ultimately affect both partners. Since the apnea sufferer will have their sleep disrupted sometimes several times a night, they will probably try to counter this by shifting position to try to find a way to make the incidents of apnea stop. This can lead to poor quality sleep both for the sufferer and their partner, who is likely having their sleep disrupted by all that movement too.
Gastric Reflux – as the diaphragm pulls to try and take in air during an apnea episode, this can cause an opposite response, forcing stomach acid up into the esophagus. The result can be repeated bouts of gastric reflux that produce an uncomfortable, burning sensation and are potentially damaging to the esophagus.
ArenaCreative / stock.adobe.com
ArenaCreative / stock.adobe.com
Morning headaches – the increased incidents of airway obstruction can lead to a number of sleep apnea side effects. One of the more disturbing is a build-up of carbon monoxide in the body, which can in turn cause the sufferer to have a headache on both sides of the head when he or she wakes up in the morning. Usually, these headaches resolve themselves within thirty minutes after waking as the lungs naturally regain normal flow and the carbon monoxide level returns to normal.
Dry mouth or sore throat – because many individuals who suffer from sleep apnea tend to sleep with their mouths open, this can lead to a dry mouth and/or sore throat upon waking up in the morning.
Daytime fatigue – by far the most common and troubling of sleep apnea side effects is a lingering feeling of tiredness throughout the day, caused by a lack of good quality sleep at night. Not only will sufferers feel drowsy, but they may also experience an impaired ability to concentrate properly, forgetfulness, irritability, or depression. Because they are constantly being awakened during the night, sleep apnea sufferers often don't get enough sleep or, more importantly, don't sleep well and this can leave them open to a whole host of other health problems.
The side effects of sleep apnea can be quite bothersome and if left untreated the condition can become quite serious and even life threatening, so if you find yourself suffering from any of these effects you should talk to your doctor. Once you have a proper diagnosis, you can figure out the best way to treat your sleep apnea and get the rest you need.