Millions of people across the nation fail to realize what a good night of sleep feels like. They’re used to waking up in the morning in a groggy haze. They’re plagued by sore throats, afternoon crashes, and their partner’s inevitable “your snoring kept me up” look.
It is estimated that 22 million Americans suffer from Sleep Apnea, with 80 percent of moderate to severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) cases leftundiagnosed.
Within that group, about two-thirds are men, but women are also affected. In fact, women are actually less often diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, mainly because it can be mistaken for other conditions. We’ve discussed the importance of women getting help for their Sleep Apnea and the questions they may have; in this post we’ll review the most common sleep apnea symptoms in men.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Men
Even the healthiest individuals will get tired, but overwhelming, constant fatigue is a common symptom of Sleep Apnea in men. Irregular breathing patterns throughout the night can prevent someone from getting enough sleep, leading to serious exhaustion the next morning.
Extremely loud snoring
Unlike the occasional bout of snoring, Sleep Apnea-related snoring is persistent, loud, and may be punctuated by gasping, snorting, wheezing, or other sounds that indicate the person is struggling to breathe. The scariest part of these snoring fits is the silence between them, which is when the person stops breathing altogether!
Sleep helps us regulate our emotions and concentrate better, so it makes sense that lack of sleep can lead to irritability and irrationality. Some of the most prevalent symptoms of Sleep Apnea in men are irritability, mood swings, general forgetfulness, and a sense of negativity.
Falling asleep anywhere and anytime
We all admire that person who can seemingly fall asleep on an airplane, in the passenger seat of a car, on the couch, or anywhere in between. But did you ever think if this penchant for catching a few Z’s during odd hours of the day is the result of poor sleep at night? Many men with Sleep Apnea find that they can fall asleep almost immediately, and almost anywhere. This is incredibly dangerous, as many men with sleep disorders find it hard to stay awake while driving — even during the middle of the day.
Frequent morning headaches
Unlike tension headaches or migraines, Sleep Apnea-related headaches are generally pretty rough for about an hour or two after waking, and then go away as the day goes on. The oxygen deprivation experienced by Sleep Apnea patients can cause headaches that subside once normal daytime breathing takes over.
Getting up to urinate a lot
Did you know that the reason most of us can sleep six to eight hours without having to go to the bathroom is because when we are sleeping well, we don’t notice the urge to urinate? For men who suffer from Sleep Apnea, this isn’t the case. Because they are lighter sleepers, every need to go to the restroom is noticed. One common Sleep Apnea sign for men is urinating frequently throughout the night.
If you or someone you care for exhibits these or similar symptoms, it would make sense to suggest a sleep study – or at the very least, a consultation with the individual’s primary care doctor. Sleep apnea is highly treatable, yet only about 20% of patients with moderate to severe Sleep Apnea ever do anything about it. Understanding the common symptoms of Sleep Apnea in men and taking action can save lives and improve yours or your partner’s sleep.