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Often tired, too tired for sex, sleep lots and "puff" in my sleep. Help!

Hi everyone.

I'm a new member and really, really need some help. My story is this....

I'm a 41 year old guy and I would describe myself as 5'10 and around 12 stone. I'm a home delivery driver for a supermarket three days a week (26hrs in total) that is quite stressful and involves a fair bit of heavy lifting. I do no other real exercise or sport but I would say I'm reasonably fit. I've been a vegetarian since I was 15 and most people have said that my tiredness *must* be linked to my vegetarian diet, but I've had various blood tests and they have always come back that I'm not deficient in anything. I also had my testosterone levels checked some 10 years ago and the results came back as normal for that as well.

My problem is that since I was a teenager I have always wanted to sleep for at least 8-10 hours a night and given the chance I can easily sleep up to 12-14. It goes without saying that this has caused me lots of problems in my personal life/relationships and work. When I'm awake I sometimes find I'm having to drink 4-5 cups of coffee a day to feel alert and to concentrate properly.

My sleep is all over the place and because some days I sleep longer than others (because I don't have to get up for work), I'm finding that I then often go to bed late at maybe 2-3am in the morning. This of course makes the situation worse when I then have to get up in the morning and I often don't wake up until 11am-midday time. I can't remember the last time I went to bed before midnight!

When I wake up I always feel very tired and lethargic and struggle to get up and get on with things. My concentration level is terrible and it is normal for me to "drift" all day and get nothing constructive done when I have tons of urgent things that need doing.

It goes without saying that I'm *always* tired when a partner wants to have sex and I have almost always made the excuse that I'm dog tired and need sleep. A true reason, but not one that has got much sympathy. I have now had 3-4 relationships where sleep/tiredness problems have ended them, the latest being a month ago.

My sleep pattern? Well according to several partners, my head hits the pillow and within seconds I'm fast asleep. I'm like this every night with no exceptions. I usually sleep on my side (no preference which side) and apparently I breathe in through my nose but always breathe out and "puff" through my mouth. My last ex said she thought that was unusual as she'd never known anyone breathe like that when they were asleep! I also *never* remember dreaming which to me seems odd.

As I said before, my last relationship with a partner ended a month ago because I was shattered and we had a massive row and this week I had a big argument with my boss at work which has seriously jeopardized my position. He was being a d**k but I was tired and I could and should have handled the situation more calmly than I did.

I sat myself down today and I have finally realised that I can't go on like this any more and I need to find a solution to my constant tiredness. I've been to my doctor and according to him I'm depressed and need anti-depressants, but I've seen the effect they have had on a couple of my friends and I don't want to try them. Maybe I am depressed, but if I am, the underlying cause is my tiredness and I want to fix that and not be pumped full of pills just because that's easier for the doctor to prescribe!!!

So, please, can you guys offer any help or advice?

Many thanks in advance.

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Welcome TiredInTheUK, you need to find the cause not take meds to possibly help the symptoms, if you don't fix the cause the problem will always come back and slowly get worse over time. The answer you are looking for is have a sleep study and have it as soon as possible to either find out what is wrong or at least rule out the 70-80 sleep disorders that are out there. I went down the depression and meds track and the 5 specialist I saw all said the same thing, depression, it was me and Dr Google that found I have sleep apnea. I now have so much energy, testosterone etc. do yourself a favour and insist on a sleep study, good luck and keep us updated.
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Welcome to our board.

You need a sleep test. End of story.

Look up the "Eppworth sleep scale."

There are home sleep tests. You can also sleep with a recording oximeter and that will give you a clue, but you can have apnea and not show up on an oximeter.

Unfortunately, a lot of doctors are not very good at detecting and treating sleep apnea.

There's a myth that only fatties get apnea. It may be more common, but there are plenty of thin apneacs.

While sleep apnea is a distinct possibility, don't get too focused on that and neglect to consider that you may have a different medical problem or even apnea plus something else.

Read up here and elsewhere on sleep apnea and CPAP. There are a lot of bad doctors and poor service providers in the field of sleep problems. In particular, watch out for anyone who wants to do some sort of surgery to fix apnea.

You may have to take a lot of responsibility for your own health and treatment if you want it done right.

Good luck, and keep at it.
Get the free SleepyHead software here.
Useful links.
Click here for information on the main alternative to CPAP.
If it's midnight and a DME tells you it's dark outside, go and check it yourself.
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what they said!
Get a sleep study done.
Do it as soon as possible. You have enough of the "indicator" symptoms to suspect apnoea, but as above - get the study and know.

Hell, if you are too tired for SEX you have a problem! Get that sleep study done.
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Hi folks and thanks for the replies so far.

As you can probably tell from my username I'm in the UK and not sure how I'd go about getting a sleep test done through my doctor as he seems convinced I'm just depressed. Does anyone know if there is a UK based sleep apnea group I could go to? Unfortunately I'm on a very low income and as such I doubt that I could afford to go private.

No one has commented on it so far, but does anyone think my way of breathing when I sleep is unusual? I'd be very interested to know as I was never aware of my pattern until my last ex told me, but she thought it was very strange!

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Hi TiredInTheUK,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
What everyone has said so far.
Hopefully, you can find a way to get a sleep study done.
Best of luck and keep us posted.
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Before I finished reading you initial post, I was asking myself, "Is this person Depressed?"
Keeping in mind that I'm not a doctor... Antidepressants: there are a spectrum of them.
Some are quite tranquilizing; and some are sort up an "upper."
I would say, don't pass on them just because of a friend's experience.
The right one could change your life. Lack of energy is often seen in depression.
Your social situation is certainly a setup for being depressed.

Limit your caffeine and alcohol; get a sleep study; don't kick antidepressants to the curb if you rule out other causes without improvement.
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(09-24-2013, 09:04 AM)TiredInTheUK Wrote: Hi folks and thanks for the replies so far.

As you can probably tell from my username I'm in the UK and not sure how I'd go about getting a sleep test done through my doctor as he seems convinced I'm just depressed. Does anyone know if there is a UK based sleep apnea group I could go to? Unfortunately I'm on a very low income and as such I doubt that I could afford to go private.

No one has commented on it so far, but does anyone think my way of breathing when I sleep is unusual? I'd be very interested to know as I was never aware of my pattern until my last ex told me, but she thought it was very strange!


I live in Australia but are on another website which is based in the UK, I can give you that site if you want to get some local knowledge. My understanding is you go to a GP and they refer you to a clinic, I think it is free but if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea they only give you the basic machine which is not data capable. I suggest a visit to you GP would be a start.
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Your doctor may be right. Depression can make you very tired. There are many different kinds of anti depressants, and people have different reactions to them. In my case, I was lucky and Prozac (or, rather, the generic version) worked, and continues to work, well for me. There were some difficult side effects, but those difficulties are pretty insignificant compared to being depressed, and some of them just faded away after a while, or, in other cases, were much diminished. Particularly if you have a sense of humor about it, which is easier if you're not depressed.

However, taking an anti depressant does not keep sleep apnea from having very unpleasant effects on your life. While driving, I was often unable to keep my eyes coordinated for more than a few seconds, so much of the time I was seeing double. It turns out I can drive pretty well this way, but I wouldn't call it pleasant. I remember a nice trip to the zoo with my s.o. and an old friend. It was entertaining and fun, except that I was sitting in the corner nodding off much of the time.

Of course, I can see depression as an effect of sleep deprivation too. And it's possible to have both. So the sleep study is a good idea if you can get one. I have to admit it took a long time before I talked my doc into one. Maybe I could have convinced my insurance company to pay for one anyway, I'm not sure.

Or it could be something else. I am sometimes tired even if I've slept well. I think it's ADHD, yet another fun condition I've been diagnosed with. Or sometimes it's just that I haven't been working out.

If you can talk the doc into it, the sleep study may be a good start, because you'll get the results back quickly, and because if you need a CPAP machine, you'll feel much better the first day after you use one! Anti depressants could take as much as two months to kick in, and sometimes the first one doesn't work.
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P.S. CPAP machines themselves aren't all THAT expensive, but they all seem to have a lot of bells and whistles. I don't know why they can't come up with a really stripped down CPAP that almost anyone can afford. I developed my own while waiting for the good one to show up. I think it cost me all of $40. That doesn't include the mask, however. No fancy electronics, no display, and it was noisy, but it worked. Until the mice in the garage started to live in it!
On another subject, I used to work with a guy who had sleep apnea. He was probably about your height and weight, although perhaps he was not as fit, since his job description didn't include anything physical.
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