Symptoms

With sleep apnea, there are symptoms that you may notice and symptoms that others may notice when you're asleep.

Symptoms you may notice include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • Waking with an unrefreshed feeling after sleep, having problems with memory and concentration, feeling tired, and experiencing personality changes.
  • Morning or night headaches. About half of all people with sleep apnea report headaches.1
  • Heartburn or a sour taste in the mouth at night.
  • Swelling of the legs.
  • Getting up often during the night to urinate.
  • Sweating and chest pain while you are sleeping.

Symptoms others may notice include:

  • Episodes of not breathing (apnea), which may occur as few as 5 times an hour (mild apnea) to more than 50 times an hour (severe apnea). How many episodes you have determines how severe your sleep apnea is.
  • Loud snoring. Almost all people who have sleep apnea snore. But not all people who snore have sleep apnea.
  • Restless tossing and turning during sleep.
  • Nighttime choking or gasping spells.

Symptoms in children

Children who have sleep apnea nearly always snore. But they may not appear to be excessively sleepy during the day (a key symptom in adults).

  • In children younger than 5, other symptoms include:
  • In children 5 years and older, other symptoms include:
    • Bed wetting.
    • Doing poorly in school.
    • Not growing as quickly as they should for their age. This may be the only symptom in some children. These children may also have behavior problems and a short attention span.

In rare cases, sleep apnea in children can cause developmental delays and can cause failure of the right side of the heart (cor pulmonale).

Other conditions with symptoms similar to sleep apnea include other sleep disorders and an underactive thyroid.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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