What Are the Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?

Ask the Experts

My husband has always been a loud snorer. Lately, he’s gained some weight after a work injury that has kept him off his feet, and the snoring has become even worse. I was looking up causes of snoring and found that sleep apnea was common. Could my husband have that? What are the warning signs and symptoms of sleep apnea?

Doctor’s Response

Loud snoring, tiredness, and daytime sleepiness are the main symptoms of sleep apnea but many people ignore them and think it’s normal.

Other signs of sleep apnea include:

  • Restless sleep
  • Waking up with headaches, dry mouth, or sore throat
  • Frequent waking to urinate
  • Waking up gasping or choking
  • Waking up feeling unrested
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Memory problems'

Other more serious complications of sleep apnea can include workplace or automobile accidents (people are three times more likely to have car accidents due to sleepiness). Some people with mild sleep apnea may have no obvious symptoms at all.

Additionally, sleep apnea may lead to frequent awakening of the bed partner resulting in insomnia and its associated symptoms.

Obstructive sleep apnea can also be associated with dreaded long-term complications if not diagnosed and treated properly. Some of these complications may include:

Untreated sleep apnea can cause severe health problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke so if you think you have sleep apnea, see your doctor.

sleep apnea.

Siamak N. Nabili, MD, MPH coauthored this article.


The doctors and editors at UpToDate. Patient education: Sleep apnea (The Basics). 2018. 30 December 2018 .