The main symptoms of sleep apnea include excessive sleepiness during the day, loud snoring, breathing cessation while asleep, and abruptly waking from sleep short of breath, explains Mayo Clinic. Patients with sleep apnea may also experience morning headaches, concentration difficulties and trouble staying asleep.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person repeatedly stops and starts breathing throughout the night, notes Mayo Clinic. There are two categories of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common form and occurs in patients whose throat muscles relax while asleep. In the case of central sleep apnea, patients stop breathing during the night because their brains fail to transmit the necessary signals to the muscles involved in breathing.
Loud snoring occurs most often with obstructive sleep apnea, whereas suddenly jolting awake short of breath is most often characteristic of central sleep apnea, states Mayo Clinic. Patients with obstructive sleep apnea may also suddenly awaken short of breath, but they are less likely to recall the awakening episodes than patients with central sleep apnea because the awakening is often very brief for such patients. In some cases, individuals with obstructive sleep apnea think they sleep well throughout the entire night, although they may experience daytime sleepiness because the brief awakening periods interfere with their ability to enter into the restful phases of the sleep cycle.