Skip to main content

You are here

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)

Symptoms of OSA can disrupt and affect your everyday life. On this page, we describe the most common symptoms of OSA.

Some symptoms happen when you’re asleep, and others when you’re awake. Not everyone with OSA will experience all of them. Remember: OSA can be serious if it’s not diagnosed and treated. 

Symptoms and signs of OSA when asleep include:

  • loud snoring
  • stopping breathing or struggling to breathe
  • feeling of choking or gasping 
  • tossing and turning
  • sudden jerky body movements
  • waking up a lot during the night
  • snorting while you sleep.

If you have a partner, they might be more aware of your snoring and pauses in your breathing when you’re asleep than you are. It’s a good idea to ask them to record (using a mobile phone or another recording device) your breathing at night, or to note down any of the symptoms you’re experiencing. 

My wife said I stopped breathing at night and that my snoring could be heard downstairs.Greg

Symptoms of OSA when awake include:

  • waking up sleepy and unrefreshed
  • headache when you wake up
  • difficulty concentrating and feeling groggy
  • poor memory
  • feeling depressed, irritable or other changes of mood
  • poor co-ordination
  • loss of sex drive.

Next: How is OSA diagnosed?

View this information as a PDF (535KB)

We use your comments to improve our information. We cannot reply to comments left on this form. If you have health concerns or need clinical advice, call our helpline on 03000 030 555 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

Last medically reviewed: November 2021. Due for review: November 2024

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.