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POSTED: Thursday, May 21, 2009 - 9:55am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:23pm

Treating sleep apnea can lead to weight loss...

Do you ever hear yourself say "I'm too tired to work out?".

If you're saying that too often, you might want to take a look at how well you sleep.

An Everett, Washington woman dropped 100 pounds in a little more than a year.

Her doctors say the big key to the big weight loss was treating her sleep disorder.

Jenny Chapman watches what she eats ever since saw a photo of herself two years ago.

"In July of 2007, I saw a picture that someone took of me, and I thought, 'Oh my god, how did I get to be like this?'" she said.

Chapman use to weigh 300 pounds.

Back then she ate poorly and rarely worked out.

"I was pretty much going to work, going home and going to sleep. I wasn't doing anything," Chapman says. "I was always tired."

Chapman soon learned that her bad habits were rooted in her obstructive sleep apnea, a condition caused by blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the throat collapses during sleep.

As a result, the body's defense mechanism kicks in rousing the person to open the airway.

"You have these cycles of breathing getting shallower and shallower and the brain getting more and more nervous, until it arouses you again and it wakes you up," says Dr. Gandis Mazeika, Medical Director of Providence Sleep Health Institute.

Dr. Mazeika says sleep apnea patients are often too tired to work out, and seek out the wrong foods.

"You just instinctively go for carbs because you know at some level they will give you some zing if you put an extra spoonful of sugar in your coffee," he said.

Once sleep apnea is diagnosed, there are several ways to treat it.

For some it means surgery, others can wear a mouth piece. Then there's a CPAP device, a breathing mask that gently forces air into the body.

Chapman started using the CPAP and noticed she had more energy, enough to work out regularly and eat right.

She lost 100 pounds in a little more than a year.

"It's awesome. I never want to be in that place again," says Chapman.

Doctors say 20 percent of the adult population suffers from some kind of sleep apnea, but only 2 percent get it diagnosed.

If you think you suffer from it, talk to your doctor.

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