We’ve talked about the different warning signs and complications women face with sleep apnea, but what about sleep apnea symptoms in men?
Here’s a breakdown of the different signs men should be aware of if they’re not getting a good night’s rest:
“His snoring was so loud that patches wouldn’t help. He still cracked some windows.”
“Yesterday, he took his snoring to new highs. It was heard three flights up.”
“Men are like portable heaters that snore.”
While men are repeatedly the butt of the snoring joke, snoring is no laughing matter.
When you sleep, your throat relaxes and can create an obstruction that vibrates as you breathe – resulting in snoring. While not all snoring is caused by obstructive sleep apnea, if your snoring is coupled with any of the following, you may be at risk for sleep apnea:
- Waking up choking
- Waking up gasping for air
- Daytime sleepiness
- Crankiness that's hard to shake off
- Peeing during the night
- Morning headaches
If your body mass index (BMI) is over 25, you’re at risk for sleep apnea.
Interestingly, however, one of the symptoms of sleep apnea is also obesity and weight gain – meaning there’s a relationship between these health conditions.
People who are overweight are four times more likely to have sleep apnea, and those with sleep apnea tend to struggle with their weight because the sleep disorder messes with your hormones, triggering cravings and overeating.
Are you tired all the time? Going to bed and waking up at your regular times but still feeling unrested, unwell, and unhealthy?
Some people think you can only have sleep deprivation if you’re not sleeping at all, but if you have moderate to severe sleep apnea, you can be as impaired in your waking hours as a drunk driver. The consquences of sleep deprivation are many and quite dangerous such as:
- Reduced performance
- Reduced alertness
- Cognitive impairment
- Work injuries
- Car accidents
- Reduced overall quality of life
While sleep deprivation is sometimes our own doing (working too late, binging on Netflix, staying up late reading, etc.), sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, are often the culprit.
High Blood Pressure
Much like obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure) and sleep apnea seem to have a symbiotic relationship – they often come hand in hand.
If you have high blood pressure to begin with, sleep apnea worsens it because the pauses in oxygen intake caused by sleep apnea are hard on your heart. However, if you’ve got both sleep apnea and hypertension, sleep apnea treatments like CPAP machines can help lower your blood pressure.
About 50% of people who wake up with headaches suffer from sleep apnea. Generally, though, migraine and headache sufferers are also two to eight times more likely to suffer from sleep apnea.
Theories about why sleep apnea causes headaches include interference in oxygen saturation and intracranial pressure, but science does know that migraine and cluster headaches are directly related to the amount of REM sleep you have.
Sleep-related headaches tend to happen in the morning, you’ve got one upon waking. They throb on both sides of your head and often (though not always) resolve after an hour or so.
If you’re middle-aged and struggling with any of these issues, you might have sleep apnea. Take our sleep quiz and book an appointment for expert help and advice.