If your significant other or even your children down the hallway have started complaining about you waking them up during the night with your loud snoring, it may almost become a family joke. However, snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, which is no joke since it can have serious side effects, the least of which being that you temporarily stop breathing at night.
Besides snoring, there are other signs that you may be suffering from sleep apnea for which you should be on the lookout.
1. Frequently Waking Up With a Headache
One sign that you should be looking out for is frequently waking up in the mornings with a throbbing headache. When you momentarily stop breathing during the night, your brain goes without oxygen. Even if it is deprived of oxygen for only a few seconds, the brain reacts by sending an alarm to the rest of the body.
In an attempt to get the oxygen it desperately needs, the brain will send a signal to your circulatory system to pump the heart faster, which causes an increase in your blood pressure. This pressure then has an effect on your brain. Because of the momentary increase in pressure inside of your skull (intracranial pressure), the force on the brain will give you a headache.
2. Constantly Experiencing a Sore, Dry Throat in the Mornings
Another sign that you may be suffering from sleep apnea is that you constantly wake up with a sore, dry throat. Not only is this caused by the passage of air from your opened mouth to your lungs while you are snoring, but it could also be a sign that your body is trying to force air into the lungs because you have stopped breathing.
Along with the brain's effort to get oxygen, it will send another signal to the lungs to start inhaling as fast and rapidly as possible. Because of the increase in air, your throat will dry out, and the momentary force of air into the lungs can also result in a sore throat.
Since sleep apnea can be detrimental to many organs in your body, such as your heart, lungs, and brain, you should not just shrug off the excessive snoring and other symptoms. Make an appointment with a sleep apnea doctor as soon as possible so that they can determine whether you have the condition and discuss with you available treatment options.