People with sleep apnea usually do not remember waking during the night.
Symptoms in Adults
Symptoms may include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness. Generally, patients risk falling asleep during the day while performing routine activities such as reading, watching TV, sitting inactively, lying down, or riding in a car while a passenger or stopped for a few minutes in traffic. Usually, these brief episodes of sleep do not seem to relieve their overall sense of sleepiness.
- Morning headaches.
- Irritability and impaired mental or emotional functioning. These types of symptoms are directly related to interrupted sleep.
- Snoring. Bed partners may report very loud and interrupted snoring. Patients experience snoring associated with choking or gasps. This often occurs in a crescendo pattern with the loudest noises occurring at the very end. These findings are more likely to occur when lying down (supine position). Patients often suffer from frequent arousals during sleep because of snoring.
Symptoms in Children
Sleep apnea occurs in about 2% of children. They may have symptoms that differ from adults, including:
- Longer total sleep time than normal in some children, especially obese children or those with severe apnea.
- More effort in breathing (flaring nostrils, heaving chests, sweating). The chest may have an inward motion during sleep.
- Behavioral difficulties without any obvious cause, such as hyperactivity and inattention.
- Morning headaches
- Failure to grow and gain weight
Review Date: 06/11/2010
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.