Assess Your Sleep

Sleep Breathing Survey

Understanding your score

Sleep Breathing symptoms are the most obvious way to predict whether or not you suffer from a sleep breathing disorder, but unfortunately, this component is only reliable when you are certain that you suffer from these symptoms.  The problem here is that most or many problematic sleepers do not really pay much attention to their breathing at night or they simply do not know about their breathing because they are asleep at the time. 

In medical terms, we say that breathing symptoms have high "sensitivity" meaning that if you know you've got a breathing symptom, these reports are highly sensitive to the chances you also have SDB.  But, the symptoms are not very "specific," because the absence of breathing symptoms does not reliably predict that you do not have SDB.  Again, the reason may be as simple as you suffer breathing symptoms, but you just don't know it.

If you score low, medium or high on this survey, the risks for sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) are very high, because any signs or symptoms of breathing condition would almost always predict some degree of obstruction in your airway.


Understanding your score

Sleep quality indicators are in many ways much more reliable than breathing indicators, because you are generally looking back at your sleep instead of trying to analyze what actually goes on during your sleep.  When you awaken in the morning you almost always can teach yourself to gauge how well or how poorly you have slept.  Of course, this process is still somewhat intuitive, but you can often correlate your sleep quality with how refreshed you feel in the morning.  For example, if you always drag in the morning and need caffeine to jump start your day, you could predict that your sleep quality is not that good, because you do not feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. 

Later in the day, if you found yourself tired and sleepy and again needed a "pick-me-up" such as caffeine, then those symptoms of daytime fatigue and sleepiness suggest your sleep quality is not what it should be.  In the most glaring example, you actually find yourself desiring a nap or actually napping during the day, which should seal the deal for you that something is seriously wrong with your sleep.

When you put all of this information together, you realize that your sleep must be fragmented, disrupted or otherwise interrupted during the night, which markedly diminishes the quality of your sleep.  Once you make these connections, know now that the single most common disorder to produce all this sleep misery is sleep-disordered breathing.  So, if you do believe that you suffer from a sleep quality problem, chances are very high there's a breathing connection as part of the problem.


Understanding your score

Day and night time indicators fall into a category called "end-organ symptoms," which means that instead of looking for something that directly suggests SDB like snoring, you now look for indirect symptoms, that is, the aftereffects of suffering from SDB.  Waking up to use the bathroom is a remarkably consistent indicator of SDB, probably more common than snoring, yet few physicians and even fewer patients would easily accept this statement.  However, scientifically controlled studies clearly show that SDB triggers your kidneys to make more urine during the night, which clearly increases your trips to the bathroom. For a more detailed explanation, see our discussion about nocturia (waking up to urinate) at

Bottom line here is that the presence of nocturia greatly increases your chances for a diagnosis of SDB.  Indicators such as dry mouth are another indirect effect in that you wake up in the morning with dryness in your throat because you have been mouth breathing most of the night.  The mouth breathing would be the obvious direct problem of SDB, but the indirect finding is your dry mouth in the morning.  Again, this finding is a very reliable indicator of SDB.  Last, memory and concentration problems are ubiquitous in SDB patients, because SDB fragments your sleep night after night, and the resulting damage to your brain leads to clearcut changes and deficiencies in your capacity to remember things or concentrate on your work or other daily tasks. 

Scoring in the medium to high range on this component raises suspicions that you suffer from SDB, and most importantly, unlike the other two components, you may find it much easier to measure or gain awareness of these more obvious types of symptoms.

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