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Excessive Sleepiness associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The National Sleep Foundation

Medically Reviewed by

The National Sleep Foundation

Written by

The National Sleep Foundation

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your sleep is interrupted repeatedly during the night and you are not getting the quality or amount of sleep your body needs. Repeatedly waking up in the night not only makes you sleepy during the day, it can have serious health implications. When you struggle to breath while you sleep, your oxygen levels are lowered and your brain gets the signal to wake you up. You are pulled from a deep sleep into a lighter sleep or full awakening. Each of these episodes is a stress on your brain and body. Over time, this can put a strain on your heart and other organs. Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea could increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

Scientists continue to study the exact pathway behind these health consequences. The health complications of sleep apnea may be caused by a combination of lack of oxygen, changes in metabolism and hormones, and inflammation that occurs over time as a result of sleep apnea episodes.