greenman: (Default)
So, a number of you were aware that I went and did a sleep study a couple of weeks ago, as my doctor prescribed. He seemed to think that I may have sleep apnea. The sleep study was perhaps one of the least restful nights of sleep that I've EVER gotten. They attach electrodes and such to you, hook those up to a mass of wires, and tell you "Most people can't sleep on their backs, so go ahead and sleep on your side. However, if you dislodge any of the connections, we'll have to wake you up to get them hooked up again. So, I slept lightly, and woke up every time I shifted position so that I wouldn't dislodge the connections. I went to work the next day feeling like I hadn't sleep at all.

I got the results back last night. From the Wikipedia entry:
"Clinically significant levels of sleep apnea are defined as 5 events of any type or greater per hour of sleep time (from the polysomnogram)."

During the sleep study, I would apparently stop breathing about 39 times per hour, or just over once every couple of minutes. That doesn't mean that I wake up... But it does keep me from sleeping soundly, or at least achieving the kind of sleep that I need to be fully rested.

I actually find this to be a good thing. Sleep apnea is actually reasonably easily treated, in the short term, and essentially curable in the long term. Not fun to get the treatment started, but hey. First, I've got to go back for another sleep study. Normally, the study is done in two parts in the same night, but because I was having so much trouble sleeping, they only got the first part done, which was a reading of how many events occured while I slept. The second part of the study, they put a mask on you and slowly turn up the pressure on the mask until they see how much pressure is needed to keep me breathing regularly. I'll have to go back and have that one done this time, and I'm going to TRY and schedule it for a Friday, so that I'm not crashed out the next day. Once that's done, I'll get a sleep mask (essentially a set of noseplugs that blow air up my nose to keep me breathing) to sleep with. The mask should allow me to get a good night's sleep (once I get used to sleeping with it). And that's the short term treatment.

The longer term treatment is to get my ass to the gym (which I should be able to do once I've got more energy) and lose about 50 pounds or so. That weight loss should bring the apnea under control, which will allow me to get good sleep without the mask. I've been meaning to get to our gym to work out, I just haven't had the energy to do so, and getting up in the morning to do it was painful. So the mask will help with that, and then I will be able to lose the weight and get good sleep without the mask.

I'm hopeful. It's possible that I've had sleep apnea for years without knowing it. I'm looking forward to seeing what I'm like when I'm not so tired that I can literally fall asleep on the floor in the middle of a party.

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greenman

May 2009

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