Are you getting a good enough night of sleep? If you’re waking up feeling like you didn’t sleep a wink, it might be a sign that you have a sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea. At StartImage Dental Boutique & Oral Surgery, we don’t just care about providing our patients with a beautiful smile, we also want them to achieve the best overall health possible. To achieve good overall health, a good night of sleep is one of the most essential factors.

Watch for these eight signs of sleep apnea. If any sound familiar, we highly encourage you to visit us for an evaluation.

young woman sleeping peacefully in bed

1. Loud Snoring

One of the biggest warning signs of sleep apnea you shouldn’t ignore is loud snoring. If you’ve regularly been compared to a lawnmower, or your partner complains that your snoring keeps them awake night after night, you shouldn’t ignore this. Loud snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea because sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction in your airway. When there is an obstruction, the air flowing through your throat vibrates which causes the snoring sound. Those with sleep apnea commonly snore loudly as well as choke, snort, and cough throughout the night. Any snoring that occurs on a regular basis should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

2. Memory Problems

Another common symptom of sleep apnea that shouldn’t be ignored is memory problems. Most people wouldn’t connect sleep apnea with memory but sleep quality has a huge impact on memory. When you sleep, the REM cycle is the deepest cycle of sleep and is responsible for helping us feel rested and restored in the morning. When someone has sleep apnea, they’re constantly waking up throughout the night because they stop breathing. The small moments of awake usually consist of coughing or choking as a way to start breathing again. These moments usually occur during the REM cycle. The constant waking up all night prevents one from experiencing the REM cycle as needed for restoration. This can directly result in memory problems.

3. Morning Headaches

Another common sign of sleep apnea you shouldn’t ignore are morning headaches. There are a few reasons why you’re experiencing morning headaches with sleep apnea. One reason for morning headaches is from clenching and/or grinding teeth at night. Clenching and grinding are common symptoms of sleep apnea as well as TMJ disorder. It’s the body’s natural response to not being able to breathe. The clenching and grinding is the airway trying to stay open at night.

Morning headaches also might be a result of the increase of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. During the moments where breathing stops, the air gets trapped in the lungs and then turns into carbon dioxide. The built-up carbon dioxide enters the bloodstream and causes the blood vessels to dilate. The end result is a headache.

4. Dry Mouth and Sore Throat

Aside from snoring, memory loss, and headaches, people with untreated sleep apnea can also wake up with a dry mouth and sore throat. These are directly related to mouth breathing and snoring.

5. Dozing Off During the Day

With constant disruptions to your sleep, you’re likely not feeling very energized during the day. Those with sleep apnea commonly drift off to sleep during the day or feel the need to drink a lot of caffeine or take naps to get through the day. It’s also common for untreated sleep apnea sufferers to get into more car accidents and work accidents if they operate heavy machinery.

6. Irritability

Not getting a good night of sleep can also affect your mood and can lead to depression, irritability, and mood swings. These are all a result of sleep deprivation. It doesn’t matter if someone sleeps eight hours a night. If sleep apnea causes them to wake up hundreds of times throughout the night to catch their breath, they’re not getting restorative sleep.

7. Weight Gain

Untreated sleep apnea can also lead to weight gain. This is because it can affect hunger hormones. It can cause one to feel hungry more often and also crave sugary, starchy foods. The result is usually weight gain. On the flip side, weight gain can also cause sleep apnea. Weight loss is one of the recommended treatments for sleep apnea (combined with the use of CPAP or an oral appliance).

8. Waking Frequently to Urinate

Do you find yourself waking up repeatedly throughout the night to use the bathroom? Either you’re drinking too much before you go to bed or it’s from untreated sleep apnea. Nocturia is the name of the condition that describes waking frequently to urinate at night. Sleep apnea causes nocturia because the brain sends the wrong information to the body when it wakes repeatedly throughout the night. The wrong information causes the heart to excrete a certain protein that tells the body to remove sodium and water from the body — or urinate.

Get Sleep Apnea Treatment in Southlake, TX

If you suffer from any of the symptoms above, we have good news, sleep apnea treatment can help resolve them. But first, you need to get diagnosed with sleep apnea. When you schedule a consultation with our Southlake sleep apnea dentist, Dr. Green, he will evaluate your symptoms and refer you to a sleep testing service. There are home sleep testing options available so you can take your test comfortably at home. Once you return the sleep device, a physician will review your results and provide you with a diagnosis.

Then, Dr. Green can recommend the best sleep apnea treatment for your needs. After wearing your comfortable oral appliance every night, your symptoms will begin to subside and you will start feeling like yourself again. It’s important to not ignore these symptoms. Failure to treat sleep apnea can result in serious health complications like heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and more. Call our Southlake dental office at (817) 587-4566 today to schedule a consultation.