To sleep or not to sleep… that is the question!

I went in for my first sleep study in early Spring of 2009.

I’d been snoring lightly, on and off, for years, but it had gotten much worse when SuperDad was deployed. When he returned home again, I heard about it often for the next few years, but generally a set of ear plugs brought peace to the marital bed. Unfortunately, it kept getting worse and by early 2009, I was being nudged awake and moved to the living room sofa most nights.  While I figured this was fair (I don’t wake easily to alarm clocks and I don’t have to function at a paid job), it wasn’t a happy solution. I finally had my family doctor write me a consult to the ENT clinic, where I made sure they understood that snoring was adversely affecting my marriage. That was my ticket to a sleep study.

I love the place I go to: the company spent some money to make it a nice experience. The bed is very comfortable, the rooms are almost like small hotel rooms, and there is a private bath attached to each room. Tuesday night was my 3rd time there.

At my first visit, I was wired up (wish I had a picture of that one!  So very many wires!) and slept the night away… sort of. It took a long time to fall asleep and then I would wake up and flip around several times.  The results of that study showed obstructive sleep apnea.  (My husband had insisted that I didn’t have apnea. He never heard me stop breathing; he only occasionally heard me stop snoring. Um, that was when I wasn’t breathing.) It turns out I was having apnea episodes that averaged every 2-3 minutes for up to 20 seconds at a time. No wonder I was so tired all the time!! I wasn’t sleeping! At least not at night… I would often fall asleep during the day for several hours at a time. Sometimes it even happened sitting up in a chair “just for 5 minutes” (I’d wake up 2 hours later).

I returned a few weeks later for a night of testing out a CPAP machine. It was none too soon: I had begun falling asleep at traffic lights.
I am lucky in that I can tolerate a full face mask AND that my insurance has paid for the sleep studies and the therapy (the CPAP machine on my bedside table).  It’s not a romantic look, but it sure does increase the happiness in my bedroom: we BOTH get to sleep all night long!

Last night I went in for a “check-up” where the techs check to see how I am tolerating the therapy and if I need the machine adjusted for air flow pressure (it didn’t). They also checked to see what my sleep was like without the mask. I should get a report in the mail in a few weeks.

I might have slept better, but there was at least one time during the night when a wire came loose and had to be re-attached to my scalp (I finally got the last of the goop out of my hair tonight). And of course there was the mask on, mask off, mask on testing. I was pretty sleepy when I was awakened at 6am. I was still rather sleepy working with “checking accounts” with 4th graders at 9:30am! So instead of cleaning the house this afternoon, I napped on the sofa.

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11 responses to “To sleep or not to sleep… that is the question!

  1. My doctor wanted me to do the study 2 years ago, but I just *knew* I could never sleep with one of those machines on me. I wake up just when my sleep mask moves.

    Glad to hear you’re doing better. I know I have the apnea, because friends video’ed me asleep on the sofa, and I literally stopped breathing. In fact, they said it was scary to watch.

    Thanks for such an interesting post — you made me want to consider it again.

    • Harry, there are other kinds of masks besides the full face mask. I encourage you to check it out. Sleep apnea is truly a dangerous condition!

  2. I refused to accept I snored until my husband taped it one night!!

    Fortunately I have not been sent to sleep on the sofa.

    Yet.

    I wish you peaceful sleep filled nights –

  3. I dated a guy who used one of those sleep hose machines. And while his snoring sucked, I hated the machine just as much. But anything that keeps you alive and sleeping properly is good!

    • My husband pretends that he is listening to the sound of the ocean waves lapping on the shore. If you think that way, the machine sound is kind of nice!

  4. Oh, I wish we had something like that here. My husband would definitely qualify. Luckily we have extra bedrooms now and when his snoring bothers me too much (which is a couple of nights a week) I just go to sleep in one of those. But it´s not good for a marriage, I agree.

  5. I breath through my nose, so U only have a partial mask — and I was so tired that I never had a second’s trouble adjusting to the mask. I put it on and sleep like a baby!

  6. Grrr —

    I breath through my nose, so I only have a partial mask —

  7. I USED to have sleep apnea, and I USED to have a CPAP — but when I lost the weight the first time, it went away — and so did the CPAP! I never even looked into it again when I gained the weight — but now most of it is back off again, so I’m sleeping FINE…

    I never could use the full mask though — claustrophobia! The little nose thing did just fine for me!

  8. My sister had one of those machines and I was shocked she could sleep with all that business on. I’m glad it works for you.

  9. I seriously don’t think I could sleep with something like that on my face but I’m sure glad that you can.. especially since it helps.