Most people with sleep apnea don’t know they have it. In fact, some estimate that 80-90% of sleep apnea cases are undiagnosed.

Sleep apnea occurs when your breathing stops during sleep. That’s why it can be so hard to know that you have it. To see whether you should talk to your doctor or a sleep dentist about sleep apnea, keep an eye out for these symptoms.

man with morning headache, a symptom of sleep apnea

Morning Headaches

Morning headaches are common in people with sleep apnea. If you often wake up with a headache that may go away after about 15-30 minutes, it’s a classic sleep apnea headache. However, sleep apnea can also trigger tension headaches and migraines that start in the morning and can last all day–or even several days.

Dry Mouth in the Morning

When your breathing stops, you may start breathing through your mouth to improve your access to air. This dries out your mouth and throat, leading to a dry mouth and a sore throat when you wake up.


If you’re not getting enough rest at night, it can sap your energy during the day. You might feel tired and worn out all the time because you just don’t have enough energy to get through your day on a regular basis.


When your body stops breathing, your brain has to awaken enough to resume breathing. This doesn’t always translate into you being aware that you’re awake, but sometimes you come to full awareness. You might not be able to fall back asleep, and this inability to sleep is called insomnia.

Waking Up Choking and Gasping

When your air supply gets cut off in obstructive sleep apnea, it can make you wake up choking and gasping for air. As with other types of awakening, you might not notice that you’re waking up. However, a bed partner might observe this.

Daytime Sleepiness

With sleep apnea, you might wake up hundreds of times a night, even though you didn’t know it was happening. This can mean that you are not getting enough sleep at night, which can make you sleepy during the day.

a child wide awake at night, a symptom of sleep apnea

Falling Asleep at Work or While Driving

People with sleep apnea often find themselves falling asleep during tasks that require quiet focus. This often includes driving or working. However, you might also notice that you fall asleep while watching television or reading.


Snoring isn’t a symptom of sleep apnea so much as it’s an associated condition or even a prelude to sleep apnea. People who snore loudly are more likely to have sleep apnea.

Memory Loss and Difficulty Concentrating

Frequent sleep interruptions prevent you from reaching the deeper levels of sleep necessary for essential brain and memory tasks. This can cause you to experience memory loss or have difficulty concentrating during the day.

woman massaging the sides of her head, a symptom of sleep apnea

Difficulty Losing Weight

Another essential task that your body performs during sleep is regulating your metabolism. Sleep interruptions can make your body more likely to store calories as fat. This is in addition to chronic fatigue that makes it hard to exercise. People with sleep apnea can find it difficult to lose weight, even though losing weight is a common recommendation for people with the condition.

Unexplained weight gain and difficulty losing weight are reasons why people with sleep apnea are sometimes misdiagnosed with hypothyroidism.

Restlessness and Irritability

Poor sleep can lead to restlessness and irritability. You just find you have less patience for both tasks and people. You may also find that you have less empathy for others, making you more likely to snap at them.


With the low energy and fatigue that comes from poor sleep, people with sleep apnea are prone to depression. They may experience a loss of joy in things they used to enjoy and little motivation to try to improve their situation.

Multiple studies suggest that people with sleep apnea are sometimes misdiagnosed with depression. If you’ve received a depression diagnosis and have other symptoms on this list, consider getting a sleep test. Treating sleep apnea can improve the effectiveness of depression treatment.


People with sleep apnea might experience anxiety instead of or in addition to their depression. Low sleep can make people restless and irritable. They can also cause you to obsess about negative outcomes and possibilities, making you perennially anxious.

Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction is common in people with sleep apnea, affecting both men and women. Men may experience both a loss of libido and erectile dysfunction. Women can experience both a loss of libido and diminished sexual pleasure.

Sexual dysfunction could be related to early cardiovascular problems or as part of a generalized loss of interest or joy.

Relief from Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Omaha

Sleep apnea symptoms vary widely from person to person. You might experience just one or a few of these symptoms. Or you might experience all of them to varying degrees. The good news is that sleep apnea treatment can relieve all these symptoms. You’ll see your symptoms improve or even vanish.

To learn how sleep apnea treatment can help you, please call (402) 493-4175 or use our online form today to request an appointment at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center in Omaha.