WebMD BlogsSleep Disorders

How I Fight Daytime Sleepiness

photo of tired man napping at work desk
Brian Lamacraft - Blogs
By Brian LamacraftAugust 18, 2021

A lot of people who have sleep apnea don't realize it. You can live with this condition for years and not know you have it unless you get tested for it. One of the major symptoms is daytime sleepiness.

It's natural to feel sleepy during the afternoon after a hard day's work. You may feel like you want to have a short nap, especially if you woke up early or had a hectic day.

With sleep apnea, this sleepiness can be overwhelming. You may sit in your chair and fall asleep without much difficulty at all. This is what used to happen to me before I got tested. I'm a full-time writer, and I would literally be writing an article and start to fall asleep.

Falling Asleep When You Least Expect it

When you have sleep apnea, it's incredibly difficult not to fall asleep. It doesn't matter how much coffee you have; you'll usually doze off regardless. That’s because you're not getting high-quality sleep at night. You may sleep for 8 or so hours but still be extremely tired during the day and want to nap. You're going to be incredibly fatigued during the day no matter what you're doing.

Imagine the embarrassment of falling asleep in your office chair or beginning to get tired during a job interview. Sleep apnea sleepiness tends to come on without warning, so there’s an added danger of falling asleep while driving and having a serious accident. You can fall asleep at the wheel and not even realize it.

If Sleep Is a Problem, Get Checked

If you're already getting the required 6 to 8 hours of sleep that’s recommended for good health and still feel tired all the time, it's time to get checked. Excessive tiredness during the day and wanting to sleep all the time are big warning signs of sleep apnea.

Before I got checked for sleep apnea, I didn't even know that I had it. I used to feel tired all the time during the day. I would often need a nap during the day just to have enough energy to function. This would carry over into the evening, and I'd want to go to sleep right after dinner. I found that this fatigue was impacting my mood as I would become quite irritable since I needed sleep all of the time.

You Can Treat Sleep Apnea

If you're tired all the time, whether it's during the day or at night, you may have sleep apnea. It impacts your quality of life to a large degree.

Getting checked for sleep apnea and, if you have it, using a CPAP machine can drastically improve your symptoms.  The CPAP controls your sleep apnea and allows you to get the sleep you need to function normally. I no longer feel that daytime sleepiness I had before, thanks to my CPAP, and I'm glad that it's a part of my life now.



Photo Credit: Rawpixel/iStock via Getty Images

WebMD Blog
© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Blog Topics:
About the Author
Brian Lamacraft

Brian Lamacraft has lived with sleep apnea for over 4 years. He is a full-time writer and guitar player. He spends his spare time writing music, going to the Royal Canadian Legion, and having fun camping trips with close friends. He lives in Powell River, Canada, with his lovely wife. Reach him at his website Lamacraft Writing Services or LinkedIn.

More from the Sleep Disorders Blog

  • photo of man lifting weights

    How I Live With Sleep Apnea

    When you have sleep apnea, it can interfere with your life. You may feel tired, have a lack of motivation, or otherwise not feel all that well. It’s important...

  • photo of woman working on laptop at home

    The Importance of Being Educated About Narcolepsy

    Eight to 15 years is a long time, especially when each day feels like you haven’t slept in 48-72 hours. It is a long time when you feel like you have no...

View all posts on Sleep Disorders

Latest Blog Posts on WebMD

View all blog posts

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Read More