Obstructive sleep apnea is not just snoring, but actual temporary cessation of breathing. Although most sleep apnea sufferers just think they snore and are tired, others within the home can often hear the “jet engine” snore, the quiet, the gasping and the body movement in a repeating cycle. The cycle can repeat every 10 minutes or as often as every 30 seconds. What kind of sleep does a person get if they repeatedly have to fight for their very breath? Imagine the extra work the heart has to do to repeatedly fight to live! The risks of heart attack and stroke greatly increase.
So What Can I Do?
Talk to your family doctor or nurse practitioner. If your doctor or nurse practitioner suggests a sleep study, what can you expect? Once a referral to a sleep clinic is made, you will be informed of a date when you will sleep overnight at the clinic. There the sleep tech will do a check in, collecting relevant health information, and show you to your private room. They will let you know about how long you will have to wait and where toileting facilities are. It is a good idea to bring something to read or do while you wait. The sleep tech will place wires on your head and body to monitor your sleep. Don’t worry, they can’t zap you. Most people think they can’t possibly sleep with the unfamiliar environment and all those wires, but they almost always do sleep. It is really amazing how much information is gathered during that sleep test. All wires lead to a computer where your heart, breaths, sleep stages, body movements…can be monitored. Don’t worry the sleep techs can NOT see your dreams.