Beyond Snoring: 5 Subtle Signs You May Have Sleep Apnea

Beyond Snoring: 5 Subtle Signs You May Have Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is well known for causing intense snoring, but that’s just one sign of sleep apnea. There are more subtle signs you might not realize are connected to this disorder.

In this article, our team here at Palmieri Dentistry in Mooresville, North Carolina, shares the less obvious signs of sleep apnea so you can learn to spot them and seek help.

1. You wake up each morning with a headache 

Headaches develop for many reasons. Lack of sleep, overexertion, dehydration, and caffeine withdrawal are common triggers, but these types of headaches can occur at any time of the day.

Temporomandibular joint pain, bruxism (teeth grinding), and sleep apnea can cause headaches first thing in the morning.

Morning headaches are common with sleep apnea because the airway obstructions that block proper airflow throughout the night prevent you from getting enough oxygen during sleep, causing you to wake up with a headache.

2. You wake up frequently to use the restroom

You might be tempted to think that your nighttime trips to the restroom are merely the result of drinking beverages before bed, but sleep apnea can also contribute to these bathroom breaks.

The oxygen depletion caused by sleep apnea obstructions stimulates blood flow to the kidneys, forcing you to wake up to use the restroom.

3. You’re always tired

Waking up feeling unrefreshed is a subtle sign of sleep apnea. Even though you “slept” for eight hours, you might not feel refreshed because each time your airway becomes obstructed, you wake up. That can happen hundreds of times each night

4. You’re irritable

Between the morning headaches and chronic fatigue, irritability is to be expected. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, a lack of sleep can also cause mood swings, anger, and an increased risk of anxiety and depression.

5. You wake up with a sore throat

Waking up with a sore throat isn't normal unless you have a cold or flu. In the absence of an illness, waking up with a sore or dry throat could mean that you were open-mouth breathing throughout the night. 

Open-mouth breathing is common in people with obstructive sleep apnea, and it frequently accompanies snoring.

Get help for sleep apnea

Accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Roberto Palmieri understands the subtle and not-so-subtle signs of sleep apnea. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, visit our Charlotte-area office. 

Our team uses the Planmeca® 3D X-ray machine to assess the severity of your sleep apnea and measure the volume of your upper airway. 

Depending on your needs, Dr. Palmieir may recommend a mandibular advancement device (oral device), mandibular maxillomandibular advancement (surgical procedure), and/or lifestyle modifications, including:

Questions? Learn more about sleep apnea solutions here at Palmieri Dentistry. You can reach us at 704-247-6276 or via our online form.

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