Question for Betty.
 
I snore, wake up thirsty, and am often tired all day or have difficulty staying awake, although I don't typically get a full eight hours of sleep.  Could I possibly have sleep apnea?
 
Betty's Answer.
 
It is possible that you may have sleep apnea.  You may want to see your health care provider for evaluation of your sleepiness.  You may be having nasal congestion, which is requiring you to mouth breath and thus have a dry mouth in the am, or you may have sleep apnea.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include: 
  • Restless sleep
  • Waking up choking or gasping
  • Morning headaches, dry mouth, or sore throat
  • Waking up often to urinate
  • Waking up feeling unrested or groggy
  • Trouble thinking clearly or remembering things
In obstructive sleep apnea, you stop breathing because your throat narrows or closes.  People with sleep apnea do not know that they stop breathing when they are asleep.  They sometimes wake up startled or gasping for breath, or they may be told by others that they snore.

If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, make an appointment with your health care provider for evaluation.  They may order a sleep study.

You may want to try to stay off your back when sleeping.  Lose weight, if you are overweight.  Avoid alcohol, because it makes the sleep apnea worse.

Sleep apnea can be treated with a device to keep your airway open while you sleep with continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP.  Sleep apnea can prevent people from getting a good nights sleep, and can affect alertness, and may make you more likely to also have high blood pressure, heart attacks and other heart problems.