Good sleep is ironically referred to as Sound Sleep. While “sound sleep” is Ok, sleep with “Sound NOT OK please!” Snoring is the “Lead Indicator” for sleep apnea. 30% of Males and 15% of females snore. Most of the male snorers beyond age 40 have a high chance of Sleep Apnea.
During sleep, the body parts relax and for few of us, the muscles around the air passage – throat and tongue – collapses (relaxes) and obstructs the airway. This:
- Stops flow of air to lungs
- Breathing stops
- Oxygen level in the blood goes down – less than 90%, Co2 rises
- Brain detects the low level and URGENTLY REACTS!
The brain sends signals to wake up, but to the collapsed parts only (normally the person still continues to sleep – hence he just does not know the issue) and then the cycle continues.
During Apnea, there are complex harmful hormonal reactions in the body: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/more_evidence_untreated_sleep_apnea_shown_to_raise_metabolic_and_cardiovascular_stress
Sleep Apnea kills slowly! Sleep Apnea unleashes Diabetes and Hypertension and lethargy of course, among a myriad of other diseases. I first noticed that I may have apnea since I felt very sleepy in office meetings. That they were boring is another reason, but I felt sleepy in ALL meetings! I was tired and lethargic.
How I Tackled Sleep Apnea
My “sound sleep” was like a Lion’s Roar! I heard my recordings – first it was my wife who talked about it, then even my sons, who sleep in the adjacent room. That’s the time, coincidentally, GOQii folks were discussing sleep apnea, CPAP machines, etc. There was a free polysomnography (sleep test) going on offer and I grabbed one. The results confirmed a mild version of apnea and I promptly purchased a Philips APAP (more advanced than CPAP) machine.
I struggled to get used to sleeping with a face mask but as I got used, the benefits were telling! I invariably woke up fresher, singing a song and ready to Carpe Diem. I was more attentive in meetings (asking even tougher questions) and then the health benefits began pouring in – my hypertension plummeted, and the quantum of medicines dropped – my overall quality of life improved
The reason why I shared my personal story bit more elaborately:
I had a sleep problem that resulted in
- Low productivity
- Stress and strain as I worked hard to compensate for the low productivity
- Irritability due to poor sleep – bad 360 degree feedback
- I was taking more coffee to stay awake – resulting in further loss of sleep – caught in a vicious cycle (read caffeine and sleep here)
- Suffered from an avoidable hypertension issue for at least 15 years and took all kinds of beta blockers resulting in even deadlier side effects
- I HAD NO CLUE and sadly NOT EVEN MY DOCTORS
- NO doctor EVER asked me ANY questions about my snoring or sleep quality – NOT a comment on the Doctors, but on the system, treat for the “symptoms” that we narrate.
Therefore, YOU ARE ACCOUNTABLE for your HEALTH!
- Talk to your body, understand the signals (language of body) it is sending – even better, measure it regularly
- In Mumbai, I found just two sleep doctors on Google – I consulted with one of them. (Just 2 for Maximum City? No wonder Mumbai is a city that does not sleep)
- I read Matthew Walker’s book on Sleep, read many blogs and watched many Videos
- Used CPAP Machine, understood its readings, correlated with GOQii Smart Vital readings and made corrections to lifestyle
- Invested in upgrading my bedroom
- Experimented with a few foods (next/last blog) and adapted what was suiting me
- Then, finally decided to share it on LinkedIn, because that is my community
- Sleep Apnea is MORE common than what gets detected and treated
- Sleep Apnea is not just a health problem, it is the biggest killer of productivity – HR Folks, note this!
- Low productivity results in even more hard work for knowledge workers
- Responsible for ALL MAJOR lifestyle chronic illnesses like Diabetes and Hypertension
- If you feel sleepy in the office before lunch, then watch out, you may have sleep apnea whether or not you snore ( feeling a bit sleepy during the second half is ok)
- If you are over 40, then I strongly advise you to consult a sleep doctor and take a polysomnography test. Make it part of the Master Check Up
- If you snore, then do not wait, get yourself tested for apnea
Modern CPAP and APAP machines are fantastic. They are as comfortable as they can get and they give you a comprehensive MIS on your sleep the next day. More importantly, they have high quality air filters, which filters pollutants and smaller dust particles – that’s an added benefit!
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