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Sleep Apnoea Symptoms

Sleep apnoea is a condition characterised by ‘stopping breathing’ for more than 10 seconds at a time while asleep. There are two types of sleep apnoea; obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and the less common central sleep apnoea (CSA). Diagnosis is confirmed by a polysomnograph or ‘sleep study’.

Typically persons with sleep apnoea will display:

  • Apnoeas of between 10 sec and 2 minutes or more
  • Snoring (though not always with CNS)
  • Restlessness, excessive movement/ kicking while asleep
  • Mouth-breathing
  • Dry mouth/throat on waking
  • Thirst overnight and/or on waking
  • Waking unrefreshed and daytime tiredness/ foggy thinking
  • Tendency to fall asleep in meetings and in front of the TV
  • Breathlessness on exercise

Normal sleep occurs in five stages: Stages 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (rapid eye movement).

Stages 3 and 4 are the most restful and deepest sleep but when a person is over-breathing, or hyperventilating, they are prevented from easily reaching these stages and primarily remain in the light and easily disturbed sleep of stages 1 and 2. A person with sleep apnoea has the added difficulty of ‘arousal’ occurring each time an apnoea finishes with a gasping breath dragging the person near to consciousness though often they remain asleep. This explains why it often takes a long time for a person to accept that they have a problem needing investigating, much to the frustration of others!

Learn how Buteyko can help relieve your Sleep Apnea »

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Helping people with breathing disorders since 2001

20 Arthur Street, Freemans Bay, Auckland 1011, New Zealand  |  Phone +64 9 360 6291  |  Email

Download our leaflets [PDFs]:  Do you suffer from asthma or allergies? »    Do you snore or suffer from sleep apnoea? »

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