It had gotten to the point where I was sleeping in the guestroom
a few nights a week, or at least at the opposite end of the bed.
You guessed it: I snore. And not just cute
little snoring, but loud, obnoxious, walrus-like snoring.
And I can't hear myself snoring. What's all the fuss about,
I wondered. I'd get poked, nudged and yelled at every night.
Roll over! she'd say, you're snoring! I've got advice for anyone
in my position: Don't deny that you're snoring.
It just makes it worse. I'm not snoring! Right, she said. I just felt
like waking you up. I was wide awake trying to get back to sleep!,
I would say. Guess what, I did fall back to sleep. And immediately
started snoring again, hence the elbow in my ribcage.
A lot of fun has been made of snoring over the years, and admittedly
it is funny to hear. But it gets old very quickly. The cause of snoring
is the obstruction of air flow through your breathing passageway,
thus creating vibration and noise. Often, its cause is due to an
over-sized uvula, thick throat walls resulting in a narrower-than-usual
airway, and lying on one's back, which allows the tongue to settle in
the back of the throat. Guilty on all three counts, along with being
heavier than I should be, no doubt. It was very firmly suggested to
me by the one with whom I share the bed to get a sleep test done
and fix this problem. There was to be no more snoring for me.
A polysomnography is a sleep study during which sleep technicians
constantly monitor a patient with video, audio, and several different
sensors placed all over one's body to record heart rhythm,
blood-oxygen levels, and muscle, limb, and rapid-eye movements.
And, with the addition of breathing apparatus such as a CPAP or
BiPAP, they can monitor breathing patterns. From here, the sleep
doctor can mull over the data and come up with a treatment.
To make a long story a bit shorter, after the first of three $15,000
sleep studies performed on me (thank God for my wife's insurance),
it was determined that I most-unmistakenly had very severe sleep
apnea. In the 270 minutes of actual sleep I managed to get during
over seven hours of lights-out (it didn't feel like even an hour), I had
racked up over 400 sleep disruptions. This is where your body
realizes that it's not getting enough oxygen through your obstructed
airway, and makes a desperate GASP! to regain normal oxygen
levels. This is the loud snort that usually awakens a loved one
or room mate.This lack of oxygen over the course of nights,
weeks, months, and even years takes its toll on body organs,
most notably the heart. It leaves the sufferer with an exhausted
feeling in the morning, more so than when he goes to bed.
A nap in mid-afternoon needs only three minutes of eyes closed
in a comfortable chair in order to occur,
and stops at traffic lights can be hazardous at times.
When I wake up early in the morning Lift my head, I'm still snoring
Once again, trying to make the long story less boring, I was
placed on a BiPAP machine, which stands for Bi-level
Positive Air Pressure. This machine blows plain air through one's
air passage at a certain pressure, and the pressure decreases by half
during exhalation. This keeps the walls of those airways expanded
and free of vibration, virtually, or in my case, completely eliminating
snoring. What's more important, I don't have any disruptions due
to low oxygen levels and therefore I'm not placing my health at
risk. I've slept in my own bed for well over a month and have not
been poked, nudged, or falsely accused of snoring.
Lying here and staring at the ceiling Waiting for that sleepy feeling
Oh, and by the way, I've also had much less trouble falling asleep.