Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea 

If you have obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), you may not realise it yourself. The condition is often first spotted by a partner, friend or family member who notices problems while you sleep.

Signs of OSA in someone sleeping can include:

  • loud snoring
  • noisy and laboured breathing
  • repeated short periods where breathing is interrupted by gasping or snorting

Some people with OSA may also experience night sweats and may wake up frequently during the night to urinate.

If you have OSA, you may have no memory of your interrupted breathing during the night. However, when you wake up you are likely to feel as though you have not had a good night's sleep.

Signs of OSA while you are awake can include:

When to seek medical advice

You should see your GP if you think you might have OSA, as treatment can help reduce the potential impact of the condition on your quality of life.

It can also reduce your risk of potentially serious problems, such as high blood pressure, serious accidents caused by tiredness (such as a car crash), strokesheart attacks and an irregular heartbeat (such as atrial fibrillation).

Your GP can check for other possible reasons for your symptoms, and can arrange for an assessment of your sleep to be carried out through a local sleep centre.

Read more about the complications of OSA and diagnosing OSA.

Page last reviewed: 01/07/2014

Next review due: 01/07/2016