Sleepy in Seattle

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When I was awake, I just was tired all the time. And really I felt like I was kind of on the verge of death. I was just finding every opportunity I could to sleep or to take a nap. Day after day I'd come home and take a nap, usually the afternoon. Sometimes I'd take a nap for about four to five hours. And then I'd wake up for an hour or two and do homework or whatever, eat, and then go back to bed.

So it was a very long time of sleeping at every possible opportunity. I wasn't out doing a lot of things like my friends were. I was coming home and I was napping.

We did go to the doctor. Basically what they did is they tested me for anemia, mono, and I believe my thyroid. And that was kind of the protocol over and over and over. When I was about 31, I went into my doctor and I just said, you know, I'm starting this new job. It's a lot of work. And I cannot-- I absolutely cannot go on like this. She said, why don't we do a sleep study?

When they told me I had sleep apnea, I just was like in total shock. I would stop breathing 22 times per hour on average. And I was like, wait, what? Because I did not think sleep apnea affected people like me.

It was in my mind that sleep apnea affects males with one body type. My husband had sleep apnea. The very interesting thing to me is I don't actually snore. So I thought sleep apnea was snoring. And it's really different than how we've been taught that it looks.

They set me down to get set up with this machine. I almost cried. I was just like-- and then I said, no, I am miserable. This has to work. I will try. I will do anything, absolutely anything.

The Sunday after I got my machine, it was 4 o'clock. And I said to Dave, I said, it's 4 o'clock. Do you notice anything different about me? He goes, yeah, you're not asleep. When I started to feel better, I was like, oh my gosh. Why did I not know about this? This is horrifying that this public image is keeping people from feeling good. And I mean, people are risking their lives because of this stigma against a machine.

So I think I did a selfie. And then I just labeled it. I'm like, oh, I just look like a babe. So I said, oh, ha ha, CPAP Babe. So I posted it. And then it kind of caught on right away, interestingly.

So I started CPAP Babes. And I thought, OK, I need to tell the world how important this is for your health. There's a couple things I'm trying to do. The first is just to raise awareness about sleep apnea for everyone, but specifically for women. The second part is people who do get diagnosed, and they are wearing the machine, have it so they can feel good about it, so it can be a positive thing rather than something they feel bad about.

I am in Washington D.C. We are going to talk to senator from [INAUDIBLE]. Last week, I was able to go to Washington D.C. And I met with other patient advocates, and teamed with sleep researchers, and had meetings with Senate staffers to get additional funding for sleep research and for sleep disorder awareness.

I've always wanted kids. But it was always in the back of my mind, can I give a kid what they need with being this tired? And I knew I could do it, but I knew it wouldn't be easy. I'm just so much happier that I have more energy to give him. Because parenting is tiring anyway, but on top of that I feel like I'm able to give him much more than I could otherwise.


If you have unexplained fatigue, it's very important that you check with a medical professional about it. I think getting a sleep study is kind of a baseline thing that anyone should do if other things have been ruled out. It actually is very dangerous to have undiagnosed sleep apnea. It's very hard on your heart. It can increase your risk of heart attack. It can increase your risk of stroke.

The two things people talk about all the time is eating healthy and exercising. And that's how you stay healthy. But sleep is just as important. Keep that in the back of your mind. If you're having persistent fatigue, a sleep study is the easiest way to rule out or rule in sleep apnea or other sleep disorders.

What do you think? You want to go up, up? And up and up and up. [LAUGHTER]