About a year ago, I was suffering from severe sleep apnea. I’ve always snored, but it got to a point where I was just not sleeping. (Rather than go into it, you can read all about that here.)
I realize that I never posted the results of my sleep study, and they are pretty jacked. And since I’m sure you all have been waiting on pins and needles for them, here you go.
Generally with a sleep study, you are supposed to have spend the night two nights at the center doing the study. The first night the determine why you aren’t sleeping (apnea, shaky leg, whatever) and the second night they apply the fix and see if it works. They hook you up to kinds of electrodes and what not and you go to bed and someone watches you on a video to make sure everything is going smoothly. They encourage you to bring whatever you use to sleep (favorite pillow, pajamas, whatever) to make it as natural as possible. This makes sense, as they are putting all these wires and shit on you, it makes it difficult to move around naturally.
I don’t have anything ‘favorite’ I use to sleep, but I did bring my…sleep aids. Before I got hooked up, I took my medication that helps me sleep, put on my sweats, and got ready for what I thought would be another restless night. The woman who hooked me up was pretty awesome, and before long I was laying down.
At some point in the night, the lady was waking me up. I asked what was wrong and she said, “You need to put this on right now.” She looked extremely concerned, holding a mask in her hand. She helped me hook it over my face and a turned on the machine it was attached to, which forced air into my fat face. As I was thinking there was no way I could go to sleep like this, I slipped under and got the best night of sleep in recent memory. I mean, I was knocked the fuck out hard. Before I knew it, the woman was waking me up and I was rested. RESTED! I didn’t even know what that felt like anymore.
She asked how I slept. I told her I couldn’t remember sleeping so well. She said she didn’t doubt it. My apnea was bad. I had stopped breathing for 57 seconds. That’s why she woke me for the mask. I didn’t need a second night, they knew exactly what was wrong.
A few days later, I got my results. I’ll put it down as it was explained to me.
For someone to have sleep apnea, there must be at least a 10 second pause in breathing during sleep. 1 – 5 per hour is average. 30 an hour is severe. I was popping 108 an hour. One. Hundred. Eight.
The oxygen you are receiving should be at 90%. I went down to 50%. And the 57 seconds without breathing didn’t help.
Since then, I’ve been using a CPAP machine every night. I’ve changed masks a few times, from one that completely covers my nose and mouth to the one I wear now, which goes just under my nose. I use this sweet Bluetooth app that talks to my CPAP machine and gives me info on my breathing pauses and mask fit and such. I’m now down to maybe one or two breathing pauses (AHI) an hour now, rarely more than three. I’m sleeping through the night, and waking up more-or-less refreshed (this is my fault, though, I go to bed too late and don’t get the 8 hours I should be getting).
At the risk of being melodramatic, this study and machine has not only changed but possibly saved my life as well. I was literally falling asleep driving, waking up on the rumble strips. Since getting the machine, the only place I fall asleep is on the metro.
If you know someone who snores, encourage them to get a sleep study. They are simply not getting the rest they need, there’s no two ways about it. And if you use a Philips CPAP machine, I highly recommend the Dreamweaver app that goes along with them. You can monitor what’s going on while you sleep and make the necessary adjustments to sleep even better.
Here’s one of my favorite songs of all time: