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Too Little Sleep Makes Driving Dangerous: Patient Stories

No responsible driver would get behind the wheel after a night of drinking. But did you know that driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous? Tim Simon does. A driver for a waste-management company, Tim considered his daytime sleepiness annoying but not unusual.

When he mentioned his fatique during a physical for renewal of his commercial driver’s license, his doctor recommended a sleep study at the St. Francis Sleep Disorders Center in Federal Way. As it turned out, he had severe apnea, a condition in which breathing momentarily stops during sleep. “My wife said I snored and had pauses in my breathing,“ Tim says. “But I had no idea how bad it was.”

He was surprised to find out that his airways were blocked more than 200 times during the study, which isn’t unusual for people with this condition. The choking sensation often roused him from restful sleep.


Breathing easy for better sleep

To ease his breathing during sleep, Tim was fitted with a face mask from a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, where compressed air is delivered through the mask to prevent throat collapse. The nighttime treatment helped. Now that he's no longer gasping for air and waking up, Tim is getting better sleep.

"I used to get sleepy and I'd need to pull over," he says. "Now I can drive all day without feeling tired. I talk to my customers about it all the time. Many of them have symptoms, so I encourage them to have a study. It can change your life."

Learn more about our sleep therapy programs in Federal Way, Lakewood and Gig Harbor by visiting Sleep Disorder Centers.