Blogs > Sleeping with CPAP

Assistant News Editor Lee Dryden was diagnosed with sleep apnea and uses a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to assist with breathing while sleeping. From a layman’s point of view, he will discuss the benefits, issues, challenges and frustrations of sleeping while wearing a mask.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Breathing is a good thing

Anytime someone stops breathing, that is not a good thing.
Apparently I did just that a lot — while I was sleeping.
I just didn't know it.
After being prodded by my wife, who naturally is the one who noticed the problem, I went to a sleep doctor. (It's typically the spouses who notice such things, as they are the ones kept awake by freight-train-like snoring.)
Sure enough, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, which is defined as a disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing.
To reach this conclusion, I went through two 8-hour sleep tests at a clinic inside the doctor's office while hooked up to a mess of wires, some of which were secured by paste on my forehead. Good times.
Anyway, the results showed I stopped breathing about 60 times per hour. Yes, 60 times per hour. I guess I restarted each time since I am here writing this.
Now that I use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) breathing machine to keep my airway open while sleeping, that is down to about once per hour.
Through this blog, I will discuss the challenges — and benefits — of life with a Darth Vader-type mask while sleeping. Maybe I can help others like me or help someone realize they need to be tested. Some reports indicate there are millions (yes, snorers) with undiagnosed sleep apnea. I would love to hear tips from those who have dealt with this longer than I have. I just got my mask in March of this year.
Treating sleep apnea will keep your spouse happy, provide a better night's sleep and, oh yeah, keep that all-important breathing thing happening. Kinda need that.


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