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February 26, 2008


Captain Wrong

Weird coincidence. I'm sitting here with part of my CPAP machine in hand and this post comes up in my reader. (Seriously.)

Having a CPAP machine is not the end of the world. Yes, it's a bit of a drag, but it has made a huge difference in my sleep. Believe it or not, you get used to the stupid mask and all. (I'd recommend the under nose pillow with chin strap over the kind you have pictured.)

The biggest beef I have is traveling with the fool thing, which I do a lot. As it's medical gear, you can carry it on a plane with you, but you will have to go through additional TSA checks on it every damn time.

Anyway, feel free to email me if you have any questions, assuming this is the case. Yeah, I'd rather not need it, but I'm pretty glad to have it.

Janey Yonkers

Try accupuncture. Seriously.

fatty jubbo

I have the shittiest sleep imaginable. I rarely have problems geting to sleep, but I have always tossed and turned through a fitful night of sleep. I do drink coffee...sometimes in excess...but I still get the same lousy sleep when I curb my addiction. It also doesn't help that I go to bed at 6 AM and try to sleep through the sun blasting in my eyes. Or that the bed is too smooshy, the furnace too loud, the cat pinning us in under covers.

I have started taking valerian, which is pretty nice as it puts me in a deep sleep and I tend to wake up in the exact same position I fell asleep and in a complete daze wondering where the hell I am...although this has led to days worth of pinched nerves in my arms from sleeping in terrible positions. The other downside of this is that, even though the good sleep puts me in a chipper mood for the entire day, my motivation for getting anything productive done drains down to zero.

I'm used to popping out of bed after six hours...in a frenzy...sometimes cursing and blaming the cat or furnace if my night's sleep was awful, and going right to the kitchen to make coffee. I know I will never survive the apocolypse with my addicitions.

One thing I have noticed is that I need a certain amount of MUSIC during the day in order to get to sleep and have a somewhat decent sleep. It sounds a little new-agey but it's something about my head needing the abstraction of music to quell its restlessness.


Just went through the same deal last month -- getting rigged with a million wires, listening to a disembodied voice give directions through the ceiling, feeling super-disoriented. As it turned out, I have reeeeeaaaaallly severe apnea. Here's the great part, though -- once I got used to the smothery-sounding "nasal pillows" and CPAP machine, I found that for the past few decades I haven't actually been waking up in the morning. Those first few zombie hours of the day have been replaced by the weird experience of getting out of bed and being able to see and think clearly. Believe it or not, being deprived of oxygen for a few hours every night tends to make the brain just a wee bit sluggish.


funny (or not), I'm going through a similar deal, and I'm about to have a sleep study. I think it's a fucking conspiracy!


i think i have sleep apnea. it's like stopping breathing in your sleep, followed by the excruciating feeling of trying to 'breathe right' or even breathe at all, like you were doing it wrong, or something is blocking your full inhalations and exhalations...so you keep gasping until you can 'prime your pump' as it were.

i've been doing that as long as i remember. not constantly, but enough that i worry. but fuck it, if your gonna die, best to die in your sleep. however when it feels like you are drowning, i guess it's not so easy.

no tests for me yet, but the pushing of your doctors to 'watch TV now' does sound a little strange and
kinda like programming or something.

the best way to get a good night's sleep is to actually DO SHIT all day. bike,tussle, build, whatever. then when you want to sleep, prop your feet up. that does it for me. most of us don't exercise or exert/stimulate ourselves enough.

oh, and 'restless leg syndrome' is bull. it's hereditary, but it's more of a comfort thing in my family. some of us rub or wiggle our feet as we go to bed. it's not so bad that i think i need to take medication that will make me want to gamble and have sex but not have functioning genitals, JUST to keep my feet from snoodling each other at night.

DH Wall

Did you hear about the didgeridoo study? The study found that playing the didgeridoo (a strange instrument originating in Australia) regularly can strengthen certain throat muscles and reduce sleep apnea.

More info here with a link to the original study:
Sleep Apnea Guide to Didgeridoo


Thanks to everyone who's posted comments in the last day or so. I do have a few individualized follow-up questions, so hopefully those of you who commented will be inclined to check back.

Captain Wrong: Did your apnea symptoms fit the typical profile, like the ones at that link I included in the post? Just curious, as I'm wary that the sleep lab and sleep doctor will see apnea in my results because that is what they are looking for; I want to have a clear and correct diagnosis, not just be sold a CPAP machine. That said, if I really do have apnea, I will definitely be in touch, and I thank you for your kind comments.

Janey: I have tried acupuncture for other health issues in the past, and I know that it really works. My impression, however, based on what I've read, is that ongoing treatment (several times a week) is required for most things, including insomnia, i.e., the treatments stop, and one's symptoms will gradually return. Also, most mediocre health plans (like mine) do not cover it. Am I mistaken in the former assumption?

Fatty Jubbo: How much Valerian do you take to induce a deep sleep? I've always found herbal remedies to be like reviving Tinkerbell..."if you believe" etc. A bit like trying to stop a charging rhino if you're used to pharmaceuticals, as I unfortunately am. But a deep sleep sounds good to me; I'll deal w/the achy joints. So how much?

I'm still waiting after a week and a half for my test results. Again, thanks to all who commented and best of luck to those coping with the same issues.

Steve Gardner

When I hear or read stories like yours, I am always shocked, but then relieved that my sleep center does things so much differently and with a much more personal approach than what you describe. A week and a half for test results? That's just plain too long. Three days is really the max, if that long, that you should have to wait. I'm sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience. Believe me, it's not like that everywhere.

dei xhrist

Gaah! I go to FMU to get AWAY from work - which is at an apnea mask manufacturer. Anyways, there are only about 20 manufacturers of apnea masks and YOU!, as a consumer, have the power to ask for what you want. If you see something online (I send everyone over to talkaboutsleep.com for the chats and sympathy) you can request it from your medical device supplier; if they don't want to order it for you or offer you something else, you can take your business elsewhere - and tell them that! It's a business.
That aside, be ready for an adaptation stage. You may take to therapy like a duck to water or have a lot of struggles with mask fit and learning to sleep with air pressure (exhaustion will kick in eventually) and I'm afraid that there is almost no way to tell by looking at a product online that it's going to be the right one for you.
I took a sleep study too - I was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia, which means... I should drink more coffee. Bad cases have daytime hallucinations wherein the brain enters a dream state without notifying the rest of you. Light cases fall in to a deep sleep state sooner than normal during daytime naps. It's easily maintained with mild stimulants (coffee, tea...) and/or medication but it's enough to get me rejected on applications for additional medical coverage. Which is also a business.

dei xhrist

Hey Fatty Jubbo - I found that the phosphates sold at natural food stores work well for me. But then, I'm female, my BMI is 19.5, and as I mentioned above I kinda tend to skip or short shift certain parts of the sleep schedule. There's one homeopathic phosphate for insomnia, stress, and pissyness (that's not the word they use) that I take when I'm Miss Ballistic CrankyPants. If I get disturbed during the falling asleep stage I get so agitated that I jitter - if I take the phosphates I'm a tolerable person in about 10 minutes. Most medications are tested on healthy adult males without other health concerns; comparing yourself with them as a bell curve, you adjust accordingly but start out easy. Just because you're twice my weight doesn't mean you should take twice my dose!

Peter O

Wow! Everyone has sleep apnea! If you end up with a full-face mask make sure you get a machine with a humidifier. After a year of adjustment, I look forward to strapping that baby to my face at night. Except I can no longer sleep without it. At all.


I just had my first sleep study last night. i checked in at 9 and was "put to bed" at 11. I did not fall asleep until at least 2. the nurse even came in and asked if this was normal...yes even after 100mg of trazodone. i finally fall asleep and actually have a dream i remember and here she comes at 5:30am! not really sure if i even slept enough to get some actual results...anyone know how long a good study would be?
i'm not sure how they expect you to sleep in a tiny bed hooked up to God knows what. I'm a stomach sleeper and couldn't even sleep on it b/c i would get choked with the wires! Blasphemy!


I go in this evening for a sleep study. I am dreading it. I told my doc that I snore like a 400 lb trucker so she referred me. I sleep on my stomach..never my back, so don't know how that's gonna work.

It's my understanding that they have to get at least 4 straight hours of sleep for a decent study.

My husband says I don't have sleep apnea..as he's never heard me stop breathing..but then, he hasn't stayed up all night watching me.

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