Tuesday 12 March 2013

The Sleep Thief

Waking up in the morning feeling more exhausted than when you went to sleep? Tired and fuzzy headed, you're dragging yourself through the day? Snoring? Noticed that your memory is not as sharp as it was last year? Secretly think that you're "losing it"?

Welcome to the insidious world of sleep apnea. One in which energy and patience are in short supply, motivation is minuscule and problems magnified.

As John Steinbeck said, It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.  Imagine the ramifications if the sleep committee is on strike. Chaos - on a personal level, professional level and physical level. A lack of sleep plays with the mind and dampens the spirits. There is a feeling that your life is slow motion while everyone else is is in "fast forward".

This is the world in which I've being living for the last 24 months. My malaise developed gradually so I was caught unaware. As young as I am, I have obstructive sleep apnea!  Now my malady has been diagnosed by a careful process of elimination, life is generally looking brighter for everyone here at Number 8 - with one obvious exception which has me trying to reassure myself that  "Beauty has a lot to do with character" Kevyn Aucoin.

I have to go to bed looking like a WW2 pilot, with a breathing mask over my face from which protrudes a log tube attached at the other end to an air pump which hums through the night! My frizzy mop pokes out of the sides of the head piece so I resemble Mo from "The 3 Stooges"! Practicality is "the order of the day" - forget feminine, forget romance. 
WW2 pilot Courtesy Google

With the current daily temperatures hovering in the high thirties and the night time temperatures in the twenties, the head gear has been so unbearably hot and uncomfortable that I've been removing it in my sleep. Hopefully within the next few weeks, the weather will be cooler so I will be getting the full benefit of the air pump.

But I'm not alone. A practitioner in hospital said that currently, about 1 in 100 adults wear a similar contraption to bed, but the ratio should be closer to 1 in 5. Age is not an excluding factor. There are children as young as 4 
with sleep apnea, some of whom were initially incorrectly diagnosed as having ADHD.

The long term effects of leaving this condition untreated include a significantly increased risk of having a stroke, heart attack, dementia and accidents as well as falling asleep while driving! Type 2 diabetes has also been linked to obstructive sleep apnea.

Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone (Anthony Burgess)
I no longer snore, but I'm very unattractive when I sleep. 

Perhaps you're being visited by the sleep thief?