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Sleep Apnoea

Updated: May 1

What is sleep apnoea?

— Sleep apnoea is a condition that makes you stop breathing for short periods while you are asleep. There are 2 types of sleep apnoea. One is called “obstructive sleep apnoea,” and the other is called “central sleep apnoea.” In obstructive sleep apnoea, you stop breathing because your throat narrows or closes. In central sleep apnoea, you stop breathing because your brain does not send the right signals to your muscles to make you breathe. When people talk about sleep apnoea, they are usually referring to obstructive sleep apnoea, which is what this article is about. People with sleep apnoea do not know that they stop breathing when they are asleep. But they do sometimes wake up startled or gasping for breath. They also often hear from loved ones that they snore.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnoea?

— The main symptoms of sleep apnoea are loud snoring, tiredness, and daytime sleepiness. Other symptoms can include:

  • Restless sleep

  • Waking up choking or gasping

  • Morning headaches, dry mouth, or a sore throat

  • Waking up often to urinate

  • Waking up feeling unrested or groggy

  • Trouble thinking clearly or remembering things

Some people with sleep apnoea don’t have symptoms, or they don’t know they have them. They might figure that it’s normal to be tired or to snore a lot.

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