Chronic Fatigue & Sleep Apnea

Anyone who knows me knows that I have been so unbelievably fatigue for around the last 6-12 months. I had blood tests - everything was fine, I changed my diet to get in some different foods that give me energy - still exhausted.. and boy was I getting really sick of it!

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Waking up in the morning, I would usually feel worse than when I went to sleep. I would constantly doze off while driving and have to slap myself for hours while driving to work in order to even make it to work alive. I ate my weight in sugar, because at least that gave me the quick release of energy I needed to be able to get through a teaching sessions, but ultimately it just made me feel worse and more tired later. I was consistently sleeping for a minimum of 10 hours every night, and was still exhausted! I honestly didn’t understand how this could be happening… So I got a sleep study done, and thank god I did!

Upon finding out the results of my sleep study, it became clear that I have obstructive sleep apnea! A condition where your airway collapses while you sleep, causing you to have periods of time where you stop breathing. This resulted in me having barely any REM sleep during the night, which contributed to my experience of unrefreshing sleep, and the apneas themselves can cause you to be extremely fatigued throughout the day.

Upon researching my condition I discovered that only 3% of women under the age of 40 have the condition, and it is considerably more common in men. And although 3% is a small number, it should not be neglected when women are presenting with these signs of fatigue. I went into the study convinced it would come back normal, because I had never heard of any women with the condition, let alone on e in her early 20s! But here we are! There are also a number of other symptoms that I now know could’ve been caused by my OSA, that I did not expect! These include:

  • poor concentration

  • morning headaches

  • depressed mood

  • night sweats

  • weight gain

  • frequent urination at night

Believe it or not, I was incredibly happy to have this diagnosis, because it meant there was treatment! I started to be able to see a future where I had energy, and could live my life fully again.