6 signs you have it

The main symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are loud snoring, gasping or choking during sleep. Other lesser-known signs of this condition may surprise you. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes the neck muscles to relax repeatedly during sleep. This blocks your air passage and cuts off your breathing.

If left untreated, sleep apnea increases the risk of cardiovascular conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Loud snoring, pauses in breathing during sleep, and waking up gasping or choking are common symptoms of this condition. But other signs of obstructive sleep apnea may surprise you.

6 lesser-known signs of sleep apnea.

1 You always seem to have a headache in the morning

Most mornings you wake up with a headache that can last for several hours after you get up. The pain is usually located at the front of your head and on both sides. You may feel that your head is being squeezed.

2 You cannot concentrate during the day

You may have trouble concentrating because obstructive sleep apnea prevents you from getting enough restful sleep. Write down how often you have trouble concentrating at work, school, or on a project. You can also fall asleep or doze off while reading, watching TV or driving.

3 You have mood swings, such as feeling irritable or depressed.

You may often feel angry or irritated, even for small inconveniences. You may also feel generally down, depressed or sad and cry often.

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4 You sweat constantly while you sleep

Regularly waking up to sweaty sheets and pajamas can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea.

5 You are rarely in the mood for sex

Obstructive sleep apnea can lower your libido.

6 You often wake up with a sore throat, but you are not sick

You may wake up with a dry and/or sore throat due to repeated gasping, choking and airflow obstruction during sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious medical condition. Contact your doctor if you regularly experience symptoms or if your partner regularly complains about your snoring.


Wellman A, et al. Sleep apnea. In: Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 20th ed. McGraw-Hill; 2018. Accessed Jan. 20, 2020.

Kline LR, et al. Clinical presentation and diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea in adults. . Accessed Jan. 20, 2020.

Sleep apnea. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed Jan. 20, 2020.

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language that is accessible to everyone. IN NO CIRCUMSTANCES can the information provided replace the advice of a healthcare professional.

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