The sleep disorder can lead to medical issues ranging from heart problems to depression. It is a disorder in which breathing is interrupted or stops altogether while you're asleep.
Daytime sleepiness or snoring may be obvious symptoms of sleep apnea, but there are other common ailments, many considered minor, which could be a red flag that you have sleep apnea.
Two of those symptoms are grinding or clenching your teeth at night and morning headaches. We talked to Dr. Jerald Simmons of Comprehensive Sleep Medicine Associates about why those are possible signs of sleep apnea.
"A lot of people are clenching and grinding their teeth to keep the jaw forward to keep the airway open. So if someone is going to grind and clench their teeth at night, they may not be demonstrating as much sleep apnea, and the diagnosis may be more difficult to obtain," Dr. Simmons said. "Clenching may be protecting the airway, but it's destroying the teeth, causing pain and morning headaches."
According to Dr. Simmons, other commonly missed signs of sleep apnea include:
- Morning congestion
- Heartburn or gastric reflux
- Waking up at the same time each night
- Waking to go to the bathroom
To hear a more comprehensive discussion of these symptoms, check out more of our conversation with Dr. Simmons in the video above.