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9 silent signs of sleep apnoea you’re ignoring

Loud snoring isn’t the only symptom of sleep apnoea

9 silent signs of sleep apnoea you’re ignoring
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If you notice any of the following less obvious sleep apnoea symptoms, talk to your doctor.

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1. You’re sleepy all day
1. You’re sleepy all day
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If you’re tired 24/7, don’t just chalk it up to a busy life.

“A lot of people feel tired, but don’t know why and attribute it to lack of sleep, among other things,” says Boris Chernobilsky, MD, director of sleep and airway surgery at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City.

Daytime sleepiness is one of the most common sleep apnoea symptoms, but men with sleep apnoea tend to report daytime sleepiness more often than women, says Dr. Chernobilsky.

Both obstructive sleep apnoea (muscles relax during sleep, causing soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the airway) and central sleep apnoea (the brain fails to signal your body to breathe) lead to disrupted sleep.

Patients wake up frequently throughout the night but they don’t always remember it. They just feel sleepy all day.

Few things are as coveted as good sleep: studies show that it adds years to your life and, over time, increases happiness as much as winning the lottery.

2. You wake up with a headache
2. You wake up with a headache
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If you start each day with a pounding head (and didn’t have one too many beers the night before), lack of sleep caused by sleep apnoea might be to blame.

Even if you did get the recommended seven to eight hours, sleep apnoea disrupts your sleep.

Shockingly, people with severe sleep apnoea can awaken hundreds of times each night, according to the US-based Stanford Centre for Sleep Sciences and Medicine.

Identifying which type of headache you have is the first step to pain relief.

3. More nighttime trips to the bathroom
3. More nighttime trips to the bathroom
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“Many people wake up in the middle of the night and don’t know why, so they’ll think maybe it’s because they need to pee,” says Dr. Chernobilsky.

Though that may sometimes be the case, many patients are just searching for the reason they’re awake and don’t actually have the urge to go, he says.

While the term ‘overactive bladder’ may be used to avoid the awkwardness surrounding incontinence, the reality is up to 25 percent of women and 5 percent of men under 65 – more among the elderly – experience a type of urinary incontinence at some point.

Follow these tips to help stay dry.

4. You’re irritable or have mood changes
4. You’re irritable or have mood changes
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Lack of sleep may be the reason for your newfound irritability, not the fact that you have a case of the Mondays.

Changes in mood, as well as increased stress and anxiety, can be one of many sleep apnoea symptoms; studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep report feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted, according to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Finding yourself becoming more moody and irritable lately? Wondering if your neuroses, phobias and eccentricities are normal? Never fear; you’re in good company, according to our panel of experts.

5. Your driving is getting worse
5. Your driving is getting worse
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“One of the biggest signs of sleep apnoea is car accidents,” says Dr. Chernobilsky.

In fact, a 2015 study in the journal Sleep found that people with sleep apnoea were 2.5 times more likely to be the driver in a car crash than people without the disorder.

Researchers said in a news release that extreme daytime sleepiness and getting less than five hours of shut-eye were to blame for the dangerous distracted driving.

In the same study, car accidents were reduced by 70 percent among sleep apnoea participants who used the common treatment of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy at night.

Remember to keep your cool behind the wheel. Everyone has experienced road rage. But why is so little being done about it?

6. Weight gain for no apparent reason
6. Weight gain for no apparent reason
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While you’re snoozing away, your hormones are hard at work, with those that regulate hunger functioning at very specific times throughout your sleep cycle.

“When you disturb the natural circadian rhythm, some hormones don’t reach their peaks or get released at all,” says Dr. Chernobilsky.

That means you may feel hungrier throughout the day and even become more insulin resistant, he says, which can eventually lead to diabetes.

Eat yourself towards better health with these diabetic superfoods.

7. Trouble being intimate
7. Trouble being intimate
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“Impotence is a big sleep apnoea sign for men. Many blame it on low testosterone or stress, but sleep apnea can be the cause,” says Dr. Chernobilsky.

Studies have found that people with erectile dysfunction are more than twice as likely to have sleep apnoea than people without ED, according to the US-based National Sleep Foundation.

Poor sleep and irregular sleep patterns are to blame.

From burning calories to boosting your immune system, here are 5 ways scientists have found sex can enhance your health.

8. Your kid is acting up
8. Your kid is acting up
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Sleep apnoea strikes children too.

And behavioural issues such as misbehaving at school, a poor attention span, and a drop in grades might be sleep apnoea symptoms, says Dr. Chernobilsky.

“Sleep apnoea in kids can present as hyper, irritable, or falling sleep in class, and some parents get a misdiagnosis of attention deficit disorder [ADD],” he says.

A 2015 review of 16 studies related to sleep apnoea in children, published in Pediatrics, found that those with sleep apnoea performed worse on language arts, math, and science tests compared to those without.

Even the most angelic of kids can sometimes be bratty. Take a look at these 7 ways kids are annoying - and how you can deal with it.

9. Your child wets the bed
9. Your child wets the bed
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If your child was potty trained but starts to wet the bed again, consider talking to their doctor about possible sleep apnoea, says Dr. Chernobilsky.

“When their breathing is disturbed, oxygen levels drop, which makes them lose bladder function,” he says.

This article first appeared on RD.com.



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