Everyone experiences occasional daytime sleepiness — those of us trying to juggle the demands of family, work and daily responsibilities know that it’s not always possible to get the recommended amount of sleep every night. But if you feel drowsy during the day on a regular basis, despite no real change in your daytime habits or schedule, something else may be at play that needs your attention.
Is daytime sleepiness a symptom of sleep apnea?
As you may know, sleep apnea is a chronic condition that disrupts not only your sleep but also your day-to-day lifestyle, and can lead to serious health problems if not properly treated.
Daytime sleepiness is a key sign of sleep apnea, ranking up there with snoring and insomnia as one of the more common symptoms that lead people to seek diagnosis for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)1. If you have daytime sleep apnea, chances are it’s due to night-time sleep problems.
What is sleep apnea and how is it treated?
Sleep apnea is caused when your airway is obstructed, which pauses your breathing throughout the night. You may not awaken when this happens — or, more likely, you may awaken and not remember it — but either way, your sleep is disrupted, and the result is you wake up feeling drowsy and low on energy.
The three most common sleep apnea treatments are:
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.Recommended by most doctors as the most effective sleep apnea treatment option, CPAP therapy is safe and non-invasive — no drugs or surgery required.
- Oral and dental appliances.Best for patients with mild sleep apnea, oral appliances are small acrylic devices that help keep your airway open while you sleep.
- Weight loss.Regardless of what symptoms and signs of sleep apnea you may have, achieving your ideal weight is a good idea to improve your health in general.
To see if you might be at risk of having sleep apnea, download our eBook “The ultimate guide to understanding your sleep issues” and complete the sleep diary. This eBook also guides you through what to discuss with your doctor or partner on the subject of sleep apnea, plus common terminology that will help you on your path to treatment.
- Palnitkar G, et al. Obstructive sleep apnoea in adults: identifying risk factors and tailoring therapy. Medicine Today 2012, 13(8):14-23