How does Sleep Apnea cause Excessive Daytime Sleepiness?
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is the most common form of sleep apnea and occurs when
your airway repeatedly becomes blocked despite efforts to
breathe. This can cause shallow breathing, or cause your breathing to repeatedly stop
you're asleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night. Sleep
apnea is not just a nighttime problem—its impact may be felt during the day, even when
CPAP helps you sleep through the night.
When the upper airway is blocked, it creates a cycle of abnormal breathing and sleep
interruption. Research suggests that this cycle may harm the parts
of the brain that control feeling awake or sleepy.
This is where Excessive Daytime Sleepiness comes in:
sleep apnea may change the way your brain sends signals that keep you awake
during the day, which may cause your Excessive Daytime Sleepiness.
CPAP is one tool to help manage your sleep apnea, but it may not always help you feel
rested during the day. One study showed that
1 out of 3 people with sleep apnea who were compliant
with their CPAP still had Excessive Daytime Sleepiness during the day.
In addition, some people may experience Excessive Daytime Sleepiness due to other factors,
such as a chronic loss of sleep and various health conditions. Talk to your doctor to
determine the cause of your Excessive Daytime Sleepiness.
If you think you or a loved one may have Excessive Daytime Sleepiness due to
to Sleep Apnea, talk to your doctor today.
*CPAP = continuous positive airway pressure.
Throughout this site, we refer to Obstructive Sleep
Apnea (OSA) as sleep apnea. This site does not address Central Sleep Apnea.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) related to sleep apnea is more than just being sleepy during
ES, sometimes called daytime sleepiness disorder, is a real medical condition that affects many
people with sleep apnea. ES related to sleep apnea may cause you
feel drowsy or fall asleep when you shouldn’t during the day, leading to problems with work,
school, activities and hobbies, and even your relationships.
You’re not alone—
Many people suffer
from ES related to
3 out of 4 people with sleep apnea experience ES
The link between sleep apnea and daytime ES
Sleep apnea is not just a nighttime problem—its impact may be felt during the day,
even when CPAP helps you sleep through the night.
Sleep apnea creates a cycle of abnormal breathing and sleep interruption.
Researchers believe that this cycle harms the parts of the brain that
whether you feel awake or sleepy, interrupting what is known as the sleep-wake
This is where ES comes in: you feel sleepy during the
the brain is telling the body it’s time to sleep.
CPAP is one tool to help manage your sleep apnea, but it may not always help you feel rested
during the day. Even if you’re not perfect at using your CPAP,
related to sleep apnea is not your fault.
3 out of 10 people who use their CPAP correctly still have ES
related to sleep apnea during the day.