Daytime Fatigue Sleep Apnea 01 Achieve Health Ryan Nolen DO1

Daytime Fatigue may be a Sign of Sleep Apnea

Do you get 8 or more hours of sleep each night but still feel exhausted when you arise in the morning? Do you snore loudly when you sleep? Does your partner hear you gasping for air during sleep and report that you toss and turn all night? Are afternoon naps an essential part of treating your daytime fatigue? 

These may be indicators of a condition called obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax. These muscles support the soft palate, the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate (uvula), the tonsils, the side-walls of the throat, and the tongue.  When the muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in. You can’t get enough air, which lowers your oxygen levels in your blood. Your brain senses your inability to breathe and briefly rouses you from sleep so that you can breathe once again.

This choking, snorting, or gasping can occur 5- 30 times each hour, all night, impairing your ability to reach a deep and restful sleep. However, not everyone that has sleep apnea snores. Pay attention to the other signs as well.

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea Include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air
  • Awakening with a headache or dry mouth
  • Partner reports that you start and stop breathing frequently
  • Excessive daytime fatigue or sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty paying attention while awake
  • Irritability

Sleep Apnea can indicate a potentially serious health risk with more than 200,000 cases per year. Severe, untreated sleep apnea nearly quadruples the risk of death compared to those without sleep apnea. The risk of heart disease is 5 times greater. Ask your primary care doctor about any sleep problem that leaves you fatigued, sleepy, and irritable after a good night’s rest.

What can you do?

  • Call your primary care doctor for an appointment and a physical exam
  • Requires a medical diagnosis and an order for a sleep study to be performed at a sleep center. There are a few centers that can provide an at home study
  • Lab tests or imaging is often required
  • If diagnosed with sleep apnea, use your CPAP (Continuous positive air pressure) machine each night to maintain a normal breathing pattern. There are a wide variety of devices on the market that claim to assist with resolving your sleep apnea. Some may not be well tested. Ask your doctor about which device might be right for you.


Read more about Sleep Apnea from the Mayo Clinic



Contact Dr. Ryan Nolen

Sleep Apnea can indicate a potentially serious health risk with more than 200,000 cases per year.