Thursday, October 16, 2008

More about the last few months....

So, I'm trying to post a little more regularly than I have been for the last little while. Its been a long time since I did this, so I'll try to get people caught up.

Aside from the divorce, I think the biggest news was that in May I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. Fortunately, while untreated apnea is a serious issue, it is easily treated. I received a machine which I wear at night that forces my airways to remain open as I sleep. While the machine is slightly uncomfortable, the discomfort is well worth it.

Before the treatment I would fall asleep watching TV, reading a book, and if I was the passenger in a car for more than 10-15 minutes. This was happening about once a day during the week and two or three times daily on weekends. Since the treatment, I've taken exactly one nap... and that was when I was heavily medicated for a cold.

Also before the treatment, I was waking up several times in the night. There were always reasons... I was thirsty or had to go to the bathroom or heard a noise. Starting with that first night, I now sleep the night through about 90% of nights.

I have more energy, look forward to bed time and just generally feel better than I have since my early 20's. I've also noticed a significant improvement in my ability to focus mentally. Its not that I was having problems focusing before, but now I can focus much more clearly on whatever I'm doing. It really is great.

As I mentioned in my first post, I've re-taken up cycling and that is directly attributable to the increase in my energy levels and mood. I've also gone from walking 1-2 miles a day on relatively flat paths to 4-8 miles a day (depending on my mood and time available) . And instead of flat paths, I'm now heading up some of the steepest paths (both maintained and those tiny little ad-hoc mountain bike paths) in Frick Park.

So, the reason I'm posting all of this is to let people know: If you're having problems sleeping, waking up a lot in the night, or just generally have low energy levels I recommend you talk to your doctor. I recommend this even in circumstances where you aren't exhibiting overt signs of apnea. In my case, my ex-wife felt very strongly that while I was a loud snorer she saw and heard no evidence of apnea at all. When the test results came back they showed a case of apnea that was rated as "Severe", the strongest classification. But even if that is not the case with you, there may be some other diagnosable and treatable reason you are not getting enough sleep.

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