Common symptoms of SDB

The symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea and sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), obstructive sleep apnoea, central sleep apnoea are important to recognise in patients.

One of the most recognisable symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea is snoring, even though many patients ignore this sign or fail to recognise it as a symptom of a more serious condition.

Other symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing may include:

  • excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)
  • poor concentration
  • morning headaches
  • depressed mood
  • night sweats
  • weight gain
  • fatigue
  • forgetfulness
  • sexual dysfunction
  • nocturia

If your patient presents with any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to them about SDB and recommend a sleep test.

However, these symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea may not relate to sleep apnoea, so it’s important that an accurate diagnosis is made.

Symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing in children

Sleep-disordered breathing also affects up to 3%1 of children, with common symptoms including:

  • habitual snoring (which affects about 3.2 – 12%1,2 of children)
  • noisy breathing/increased work of breathing
  • pauses in breathing with noisy resumption of breathing
  • chronic mouth breathing
  • behavioural problems, such as hyperactivity and aggressiveness
  • restless sleep

There are a number of risk factors that could also predispose children to having sleep-disordered breathing, including:

  • Adenotonsillar hypertrophy
  • Craniofacial malformation
  • Congenital syndromes (e.g. Down’s, Marfan’s, Pierre Robin Sequence, Achondroplasia)
  • Obesity

If symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing are observed in a child, it’s important to either refer the child to a Paediatric sleep physician and/or recommend a sleep test to determine whether he or she has a breathing disorder.

Find out how to request a sleep test.

More sleep-disordered breathing

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) treatment options
ResMed helps you to guide your patient to the best and appropriate OSA treatment options available. These include CPAP, PAP, APAP, bilevel therapy and oral appliance therapy.
Types of sleep-disordered breathing
ResMed explains the differences between three types of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB): Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA) and mixed or complex sleep apnoea.
Sleep disordered breathing and chronic diseases
When left untreated, patients with SDB like OSA and CSA have an increased risk of developing serious chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. A significant number of patients with COPD also have SDB.


  1. Gislason T, et al. Chest. 1995
  2. Castronovo V, et al. J of Pediatrics. 2003