I am not sure if people can relate to sleep apnea if they have never had it. I think in their minds they associate their worst night of sleep, maybe when the baby kept them up through the night, with this condition. However, that doesn’t even come close to reality, for those of us who have had it severely. Before you get upset, let me explain. Severe sleep apnea is like drowning hundreds of times a night. Your body is fighting to stay alive because it thinks you are being tortured, literally. Your oxygen supply is being cutoff every 10 seconds. I think waterboarding is the most accurate description of severe sleep apnea. When you wake up, you cannot think straight, your heart rate is severely elevated, your blood pressure can be 160/120 and above. Your oxygenation has gone down to severely low levels and is trying to recover. I think the hardest part is knowing that even if you try and take a nap, there is no respite. This horrible feeling will happen day after day after day. It is a condition that can cause depression and cause people to lose hope. At least with a baby, they eventually grow up, and when you do get naps, it rejuvenates you.
If you agree that severe sleep apnea is like waterboarding, Time Magazine wrote an article on waterboarding and in it, they say, “psychologically this can result in significant long-term post traumatic stress, and produce anxiety and depression” (http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1892721,00.html).
image: Sander van der Wel from Netherlands, Wikimedia Commons
As I went through my sleep apnea ordeal, I noticed a few things that indicated whether or not I had slept well. The obvious one is being tired. However, the not so obvious ones may give you insight into a possible sleep apnea condition, however mild or severe.
When I don’t get good sleep, I immediately am able to get up out of bed wide awake. I don’t yawn or stretch in bed. My hands are very weak. I have a headache. Sometimes, I have an upset stomach. My oxygenation is below 98%. My pulse is in the 70s or 80s. By the way, I found that my pulse was a great indicator of how well I slept. If my pulse was in the 50s or 60s, my sleep was pretty good. If my pulse was in the 70s, I would be tired but it didn’t affect my ability to be productive. If my pulse was in the 80s, I would struggle to be productive and relaxed and if there were any minor agitations at work, confrontation with others was inevitable. Either way, it was not a good day. If I kept my mouth shut when something agitated me, I lost a bit of confidence and if I did say something in the heat of the moment, I usually put my foot in my mouth, so to speak.
My theory is that yawning and stretching in bed when you wake up is the body’s way of maintaining the muscle tone in the neck and throat area that prevent sleep apnea and snoring. So, if you stop doing this, you will eventually drop into a catch-22 cycle that is difficult to get out of and sleep apnea is the result.
Read my free eBook (http://wp.me/P5950Y-d) to find out how I eliminated sleep apnea with a quick one (1) minute treatment.