My Sleep Study Was Worth It
I had never slept a full night for as far back as I can remember – that’s right, NEVER! That’s about 21,000 sleepless nights at the time I am writing this article.
I don’t know why I was in denial for so long and did nothing about my sleep issues. Eventually I had a sleep study done and now I can say there have certainly been nights when I have slept a whole, uninterrupted 8 hours. Let me tell you about my journey to better sleep…
I have sleep apnea, which is a potentially serious sleep disorder. In layman’s language, your breathing stops and re-starts while you are asleep and this cycle goes on throughout the night. So, if you feel sleepy during the day or wake up tired and fatigued after a night’s sleep, you may be like me, suffering from sleep apnea. Don’t ignore the symptoms because effectively you are not getting enough oxygen or sleep – over time this is going to affect your body’s ability to rest and repair and your entire health.
There were times when my husband woke me up as he felt I had stopped breathing for a few seconds. In fact, I remember many instances when I woke up from my sleep gasping for air. Have you experienced any of these symptoms? If you nodded yes, you really should find out more about this condition.
Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
Unfortunately, sleep apnea may sometimes be misdiagnosed or missed altogether by healthcare professionals. Diagnosing the problem was easier said than done in my case. When I visited my GP for the first time with these complaints, he told me that weight and ‘mild’ snoring could be connected, and that weight loss would help sort that out. I did my best to bring down my weight but failed to do so. I also started getting frequent headaches that refused to die down with medications provided by my doctor and the fatigue and sleepiness began affecting my daily work and mood. I went back to the GP and explained all these symptoms “together” after having read an article on sleep apnea.
To my surprise, the GP took a detailed history and referred me for a sleep study. The sleep study was not uncomfortable except to my ego – my husband had a big grin on his face and reckoned I looked like an alien. Electrodes were put on my face, scalp, chest and limbs to record and measure my brain activity, heart rate and rhythm, and my blood pressure during the night. Okay, so the husband was right I did look like an alien, but he could have picked me up from the clinic’s door instead of making me walk through the shopping centre car park with my alien gear!
There are different types of sleep tests and based on your case, your doctor will advise the one that is best for you. The sleep study data is then examined by your doctor to devise the best treatment plan for you. I was advised to get a CPAP device for treating my sleep apnea. After checking out the features of several devices, I chose a ResMed device.
How The CPAP Device Works
The ResMed CPAP device or the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device is a commonly used treatment for patients with sleep apnea. The device enables people with the condition to breathe more easily and get a good night’s sleep regularly. Essentially the device increases the air pressure in your throat so that your airways do not collapse when you inhale. According to the sleep study, my airway was collapsing 64 times an hour – that is about once every minute – no wonder my sleep quality was so poor! With the use of the ResMed CPAP device, my airway blockages have reduced significantly to just 20 times an hour, hence increasing the uninterrupted sleep.
At The CPAP Clinic
In spite of realising the seriousness of the situation, I was still embarrassed when it was time to go to the CPAP clinic to get my device. Then when I got there, the embarrassment vanished – it was so crowded, I realised I was not alone. The staff themselves were really knowledgeable and never forced a decision on me. In fact, they suggested I try a few alternatives. Most companies offer a ‘rent and try’ option and I would suggest taking advantage of this because there are many alternative CPAP devices.
After trying a few devices, I settled on a ResMed device because it is smaller and quieter than most devices and I do travel a lot. You should choose a device that suits your lifestyle. Most have inbuilt humidifiers that prevent the drying of your airways. There is a mask that you can wear over your face or you can choose an air attachment that you use in the nostrils. In fact, there are a few options like: Nasal Pillows, Nasal Masks, a Full Face Mask, a Hybrid Mask or an Oral Mask.
Your doctor can help you pick the right CPAP device with the right settings to help with your sleep apnea based on your symptoms and comfort level. The CPAP device is portable and silent. It does not disturb your partner or his/her sleep. In fact, if your apnea was accompanied by snoring, the device helps reduce it and will pleasantly surprise your partner.
Home Alone With My CPAP Device
As everybody knows, nothing works quite like it did in the shop and you only think of the really key questions when you have come back home! In my case, I wasn’t so sure about the airflow settings and adjustments for maximum comfort. Happily, the clinic staff were expert at telephone support.
The staff at the clinic were really helpful and patient and worked with me to get everything absolutely right – even after my second, third, fourth, and yes, even after the fifth call, their patience did not get affected.
It’s also good for potential CPAP users to know that most modern CPAP devices can be monitored remotely by your CPAP provider, so they can remotely make any necessary adjustments to the settings as well.
The End Result – Better Sleep
The ResMed CPAP device helped to reduce the symptoms of my sleep apnea and re-routed my life back on track. My sleep coach helped me through the entire journey and today, I have a more peaceful, noise-less, restful sleep every night.
Deepa Calais, Publisher
This article is about a personal experience with sleep apnea and CPAP devices, nothing in the article is advice or a recommendation. This patient story is a genuine and documented account of the individual’s response to treatment. Outcomes and results may vary, and this individual’s response does not provide any indication, warranty or guarantee that other people will have the same or a similar experience. Talk to your healthcare professional for further information.