Sleep apnea is a disorder where breathing is shallow or pauses during sleep. These pauses could last a few seconds or over a minute. Apnea episodes can occur 30 times or more an hour. When normal breathing resumes, it's sometimes accompanied with a loud snort or choking sound.
Common symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include:
- Loud snoring
- Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep as witnessed by another person
- Sudden awakening accompanied by shortness of breath
- Dry mouth or sore throat during the night
- Headache in the morning
- Difficulty remaining asleep
- Daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty maintaining attention
If you experience any of the following symptoms of sleep apnea, it's important to see your doctor.
- Snoring that disturbs your sleep or the sleep of others
- Shortness of breath that wakes you from sleep
- Gasping for air or choking that wakes you from sleep
- Breathing interruptions during sleep
- Feeling drowsy during the day, which may cause you to suddenly fall asleep