SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Common signs and symptoms of central sleep apnea include:
- Observed episodes of stopped breathing or abnormal breathing patterns during sleep
- Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
- Shortness of breath that's relieved by sitting up
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Morning headaches
Although snoring indicates some degree of increased obstruction to airflow, snoring may also be heard in the presence of central sleep apnea. However, snoring may not be as prominent with central sleep apnea as it is with obstructive sleep apnea.
When to see a doctor
Consult a medical professional if you experience, or if your partner observes, any signs or symptoms of central sleep apnea, particularly the following:
- Shortness of breath that awakens you from sleep
- Intermittent pauses in your breathing during sleep
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Excessive daytime drowsiness, which may cause you to fall asleep while you're working, watching television or even driving
Ask your doctor about any sleep problem that leaves you chronically fatigued, sleepy and irritable. Excessive daytime drowsiness (hypersomnia) may be due to other disorders, such as narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea.
- Badr MS. Central sleep apnea syndrome: Risk factors, clinical presentation, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index/html. Accessed April 11, 2011.
- NINDS sleep apnea information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/sleep_apnea/sleep_apnea.htm. Accessed April 10, 2011.
- Javaheri S. Central sleep apnea. Clinics in Chest Medicine. 2010;31:235.
- Ropper AH, et al. Sleep and its abnormalities. In: Ropper AH, et al. Adams & Victor's Principles of Neurology. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=54. Accessed April 8, 2011.
- Malhotra A. What is central sleep apnea? Respiratory Care. 2010;55:1168.
- Badr MS. Central sleep apnea syndrome: Pathogenesis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index/html. Accessed April 11, 2011.
- Budhiraja R. Sleep-disordered breathing and cardiovascular disorders. Respiratory Care. 2010;55:1322.
- Collop N. Portable monitoring in obstructive sleep apnea in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index/html. Accessed April 11, 2011.
- Millman RP. Polysomnography in obstructive sleep apnea in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index/html. Accessed April 11, 2011.
- Your guide to healthy sleep. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/sleep/healthy_sleep.pdf. Accessed April 9, 2011.
- Central sleep apnea. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/sec05/ch061/ch061d.html. Accessed April 12, 2011.
- Badr MS. Central sleep apnea: Treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index/html. Accessed April 11, 2011.
- Hastings PC, et al. Adaptive servo-ventilation in heart failure patients with sleep apnea: A real world study. International Journal of Cardiology. 2010;139:17.
- Randerath WJ, et al. Combined adaptive servo-ventilation and automatic positive airway pressure (anticyclic modulated ventilation) in co-existing obstructive and central sleep apnea syndrome and periodic breathing. Sleep Medicine. 2009;10:898.
- Ono H, et al. Sleep apnea syndrome: Central sleep apnea and pulmonary hypertension worsened during treatment with auto-CPAP, but improved by adaptive servo-ventilation. Internal Medicine. 2010;49:415.
- Olson EJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 15, 2011.