When it comes to sleeping, I have always struggled. A night owl my mother called me. I would stay up late watching movies, reading or just staring at the ceiling praying to find some comfort with my pillows. That’s all great when you are young, but we don’t realize how important a good night’s rest can be, nor the role proper sleep habits play with our bodies.
For the past several months, I have not been sleeping well. I’ve been tired. Scratch that — exhausted! I would fall asleep at Tim Horton’s while working (Pre-COVID) or while at the computer surfing the net. Heck, I couldn’t make it through an entire movie without shutting my eyes. And yet, I never truly felt rested.
That’s when I began to wonder if I had sleep apnea and what I could do about it.
What is Sleep Apnea?
In a nutshell Sleep Apnea is when a person has a serious breathing disorder that can be life threatening. Often linked to heavy snorers, it affects roughly 45 million people and can lead to heart and lung issues, and even strokes.
Sounds fun, right?
I am a big time snorer. I mean I’m loud. So loud in fact, I have woken my neighbors several apartments over. Very embarrassing. But more than that, very unhealthy as it meant that I wasn’t getting a proper sleep, depriving my body of oxygen.
Sleep Apnea is usually caused by an obstruction of the upper airway. It decreases the amount of air being inhaled, collapsing the back of the throat, disrupting sleep. These obstructions or pauses of repetative wakefulness can last from 30 seconds up to two minutes. Imagine no air flowing into your lungs for that long. Oxygen levels drop and carbon dioxide levels rise in the blood. Sounds scary doesn’t it?
Well it is.
I can’t tell you how many times I have woken up choking, gasping for air. The positions I would find myself in while sleeping was ridiculous. Sometimes I would be sitting up in bed facing the wall sound asleep, snoring my brains out. Other times, I would be on my knees face down on the mattress (ouch) which caused a great deal of leg pain. Either way, it wasn’t good and something had to be done.
I booked an appointment with my doctor. He booked me an appointment with a sleep clinic. That’s when I discovered I had more than 10 Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea and was on my way to an early grave.
What are the 10 Signs of Sleep Apnea?
- Fatigue or daytime sleepiness
- Loud Snoring
- Breathing pauses during sleep
- Depression, memory lapses
- High blood pressure
- Weight gain, inability to lose weight
- Loss of Sex drive
- Morning headaches due to dry mouth sleeping
- Gasping and choking with sudden awakenings
- Peeing a lot during the night
During the sleep study, it was discovered that my sleep apnea was very severe. I stopped breathing around 88 times per hour and my blood oxygen level was only at 40%. No wonder I felt like shit every day. Not only was I NOT getting any fricken sleep, averaging around two hours per night. No oxygen was going to my body to help things like my lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver function.
That’s when the clinician at the sleep clinic said I need to go on C-pap.
What the hell is c-pap?
Well see the above photo? Yeah that’s me wearing a breathing tube which pushes air up your nostrils to help keep your airway open, stop you from snoring, and help you get the restful sleep you need.
I’m only on day five of C-pap and I can’t tell you how much I truly hate it. I mean who wants to use a machine, let alone wear a mask on their face while sleeping?
However, that being said, I have noticed a difference in my energy levels. I’m not waking up super tired in the morning. Nor am I waking up congested, which is a huge bonus for me.
My anxiety has been awful lately, and adding on this c-pap machine hasn’t made things any easy. But if you want to get rest. If you want to get a good night’s sleep. Then you must consider dealing with any and all sleep issues you might have. Talk to your doctor. Ask him to send you for a sleep study. Who knows, you too, might have sleep apnea and not even know it.
I’ll keep you posted on how things go with the machine and my journey to a better sleep place. Until then, thanks for stopping by.
Disclosure: I am not a doctor. Nor do I pretend to be one. This article is sharing my own views and opinions based on my own experiences. If you are having problems sleeping or breathing, please take the time to visit your family doctor for help.
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