Sleep Apnea and I

Me wired up!

Admittedly, this is a personal post, which is out of the typical subject of this blog. However, also seems a good place to share my opinions and experiences.

To give a bit of background, I have been snoring for about 10 years. I have tried just about everything from sprays to pillow to nose plasters to sleeping on my back,side,front etc.

But nothing really works.

And let’s be honest, my wife is not exactly a fan of my snoring and when it becomes too much, I wake up in the morning on my couch!

Contrary to what I said above, there was one thing that worked reasonably well and that was a snore/mouth guard which I wore a few years ago, but gradually became mangy and broke.

So, when I was recently at the dentist I asked her if she could make me one. She said that she wasn’t allowed to until she was sure that I didn’t have sleep apnea.

So, I went for an appointment with a sleep Dr. at Misgav Ledach (Dr. Kahane) who then sent me for a sleep study at Shaarei Tzedek.

They put a load of wires on me and I slept there for the night.

They said that I would probably find it hard to sleep there with all of the machinery, but not to worry as it was normal.

What they didn’t realize, was that I had one of the best night’s sleep for months if not years as I wasn’t woken up by little squidgelings (aka. children). As my wife said when the results came back:

“OMG, you had 7 hours and 20 minutes of pure sleep!”

Anyway, a few weeks later the results came and I took them back to Dr Kahane who said that I have severe obstructive sleep apnea. On average, I wake up around 40 times every hour that I am asleep – yes, hour!

It affects around 15% of males and 3% of females. There is also a very strong genetic connection. As well, as an extremely close tie-in to snoring.

Simplifying it, sleep apnea is when you stop breathing and so your body wakes you up and then you start breathing again. An ‘incident’ is when you stop breathing for 10 seconds or more.

Apart form it disturbing your sleep, there are also many other dangerous effects that it can have on your body including diabetes, heart problems and weigh loss.

I basically have two options. The first is to have an operation. The second is to use a CPAP machine.

The operation has a reasonably low success rate. In addition, I kind of feel a bit funny having what could be a fairly serious operation unless I really have to.

So, for the moment I am trying a CPAP machine.

A CPAP machine is something which has a hose and facemask attached and you wear it whenever you sleep. There is a continuous flow of air through your nose and if it senses that you have stopped breathing, then the pressure increases which keeps you breathing and stops you from waking up.

The machine itself costs around $1k but is heavily subsidized by health insurance.

So far, I have tried it for two nights, and these are my results:

Weirdly, I was really excited to wear it the first night. I very very rarely have a problem falling to sleep so the thought of wearing a mask wasn’t so bad. I found that I woke up every hour or so. Not so sure why. In addition, as air also expels from the machine, at one point Gina told me to face the other way as she was being treated to airconditioning which at that point was not desired.

At around 2pm, night adventures started with number 2 child as he started to get a bit too friendly on my side of the bed, so I stopped with the machine and acquiesced to being chucked out of my bed…

I was woken up at 6am by squidgeling number 3 and felt absolutely exhausted for the rest of the day, actually having a rare shluff in my office.

Night two, I had firm words with number 1 and number 2 squidgeling telling them that it was important that I wasn’t disturbed in the night.

I slept until about 1.30am when I found the mask was letting out air in the direction of my eye. I tightened the mask, but couldn’t really get comfortable and was waking up the wifey when I was adjusting the velcro.

So, I abandoned the machine and slept until about 7 with only one interuption by number 3 when for some strange reason she was desperate to have cuddles with me. If only she were so affectionate during waking hours!

So, tonight I am hoping for a jackpot and am going to try and sleep with the machine away from the rest of the family.

My hope was that when I wore the machine, I would wake up in the morning feeling more bright and awake than I have been for years.

Not happened so far, but still reasonably positive about that happening tonight!

 

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