If you find yourself gasping for air or waking up frequently throughout the night, talk to your doctor: You may need to be screened for obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening condition that can leave you exhausted during the day (and prone to serious health problems
), even after a full night's rest.
Diagnosis of sleep apnea involves an overnight study
at a sleep lab, or in some cases, a home test
that monitors your breathing and vital signs while you sleep.
One of the main symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring, so many patients are alerted to their problem by a spouse or bed partner.
Live alone? Not sure if you snore? Record yourself sleeping via audio or video, suggests Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, director of the Annapolis Center for Effective CFS/Fibromyalgia Therapies (which also frequently treats sleep disorders).
If there's any chance you may have sleep apnea, your doctor should prescribe a sleep study or refer you to a certified sleep specialist