It Turns Out I Sleep Bad – Part I

They also hooked one up to my nuts, but just to be funny. Those wacky technicians!

For as long as I can remember I’ve been exhausted.

I started taking naps my last year of college. I was studying meditation and self-hypnosis and would put myself in a deep trance following whatever instructions the new-agey book I was reading at the time suggested. Now, many years later, I realize that what I was really doing was falling asleep. I’d wake up fifteen minutes later feeling mildly refreshed. Meanwhile I thought I had meditated and achieved nirvana.

These short naps have continued to present day. Except now they are long naps. An hour at least. On the weekends, sometimes two to three hours. Oh, and no matter what I’m always tired after I wake up.

It only occurred to me recently that I might have a sleep disorder.

I always thought I was one of those people that needed a lot of sleep. I log around seven per night and I probably should do nine. But even at seven, when I get home from work, I often nap for an hour. I go right into dreams, too. Also, I fall asleep within about twenty seconds.

It’s been reported that I snore so loud that sawmills are jealous of my pitch.  (sorry, that joke was a real stinker)

Anyway, I jumped  online and started looking up information on sleep disorders. Said on some page somewhere that I might be a victim of sleep deprivation! Which made little sense because of the heroic amounts of sleep I log, but hey, I ain’t no doctor.

I’m one of those guys that loves going to doctors. I’m pretty much never sick and have no recurring illnesses, but it’s fun to learn from specialists. One time I went to see an endocrinologist to have  him check my testosterone level. (I thought I had too much). He laughed me right out of his office. As I was leaving he shouted, “Also, never take vitamins. They do nothing!”

When I arrived at the sleep clinic I told the doctor about my sleep patterns. She thought I might have sleep apnea and/or narcolepsy. A sleep study was scheduled and a few days later I was back in their office, only this time in a room made up to look like I was staying at the Hampton Inn. It was a faux-hotel room outfitted with a bed, nightstand, bathroom, tv – oh, and cameras and microphones. I changed into pajamas and then sleep tech Tiara hooked me up with electrodes from head to toe. I couldn’t have been more excited.

I had a little more trouble falling asleep (according to the data it took me seven minutes), but I made it through the night. Because my bladder is small and my prostrate is large (also things I’ve had checked out by doctors), I get up twice a night to go to the bathroom. I had to say out loud to Tiara who’s watching and listening to me sleep, “Uh, I need to use the restroom.” This is an odd thing to speak into the darkness of a bedroom. Even weirder is to hear a voice back telling you she’ll be right there. Then they have to unhook your wires and wait outside while you flush out that evening’s Fresca. It’s embarrassing.

The next week I met with my doctor to go over the sleep study results. AND WHAT CAME NEXT SHOOK ME TO MY CORE.

No, just kidding. Dramaticism!

It turns out I wake up on average 10.9x per hour. That’s amazing considering I only remembered waking up when I needed to go potty. She explained these were what is known as “micro arousals” (and yes, I already thought of a joke about small-dick boners). My brain was waking up all the time, probably from the snoring. Also, I stopped breathing 4x per hour. Thanks for building me in your image, God!

I asked if they could do surgery to fix whatever was wrong. In a weird way I was kind of hoping they could just snip something. God knows I didn’t want to do any work to correct this thing. Surgery wasn’t an option, sadly.

It was pretty clear to them that I had sleep apnea. The doctor went through some physiological explanation that I zoned out for and I came to as she was explaining treatment recommendations.

She said the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment is to implement a CPAP device.

“Cool! Let’s do it!”

“Uh, by the way, how long will I need to wear the CPAP?”

“Oh, forever, you say?”


Part II Coming Soon!

They also hooked one up to my nuts, but just to be funny. Those wacky technicians!
They also hooked one up to my nuts, but just to be funny. Those wacky technicians!

20 thoughts on “It Turns Out I Sleep Bad – Part I”

  1. Stephanie L. says:

    The device itself looks like enough to wake you up 20 times per hour, or heck even prevent sleep at all…what if you choke on a wire or something? Honestly, I wish you luck with the CPAP, as many don’t find it useful at all…Like those vitamins! Looking forward to part 2!

  2. Abby says:

    From what I understand, you will now sleep SO MUCH BETTER. This is exciting? I suspect most of us are in your situation. I have a sleep study coming in August, already know (suspect) what I’ll be told. As for the micro arousals, omg young man, please refrain from divulging so much personal information! Oh wait. It’s your blog. You can do write you want. 🙂 Arrgh.

  3. Cindy C says:

    i too am the nap master but i tell everyone i am just old and need them. i wake up in the morning feed the dog and cats and consider a nap.

  4. Natalie says:

    Micro-arousals. Snort.

  5. Terrye says:

    I’ve heard of that but never knew what it took to get a diagnosis. I’m freaking tired all the time, but I only get about 4 hours of sleep a night. I blame the damn aliens and their rectal probing.

  6. katjaneway says:

    Man, I find it hard to believe that you would get a better night’s sleep wearing that thing on your face. then again, I wear a fitbit to bed around my wrist and i thought THAT would keep me up. Turns out, no. I wish you the best of luck!

  7. Michelle says:

    It sounds like they think the CPAP will also help the micro-arousals, too, then? I hope so. I have Fibromyalgia, and during my sleep study my AHI was 5.1, so I feel your pain. I can’t tolerate the CPAP, though. And my Fibromyalgia demanded I get at least crappy sleep, so I couldn’t even make it through the adjustment period. I hope you are able to adjust and you finally get some good rest!

  8. TomL says:

    I’ve been wearing a CPAP mask since 2006. Never felt better. Much healthier. I’ve had only one cold in that period of time. The really, really important thing is to try different masks until you find one that’s comfortable.

  9. Karma Girl says:

    I don’t know how you were able to sleep knowing strangers were watching. I have enough problems sleeping with all the voices. THE VOICES, I TELL YOU! Anyhoo, pleasant dreams, little blogger.

  10. Momus says:

    Took me into my 40s, and several relationships partially destroyed by my snoring, before I submitted myself to the apnea assessment (I did the at home version). And it came back with the ominous title “Severe Sleep Apnea” and my doctor informed me that this meant that feeling drowsy during the day was the least of my problems – it was the repeated adrenaline surges to my heart that the interruptions in breathing cause that is what’s going to kill me.

    So I have had a CPAP (full mask that covers month and nose) for nearly two years, and admit I go for long periods of being a good patient and using it more nights than not, and then I decide I’d rather cut 10 years off my life then have this Hannibal Lecter device on my face one more night, and long periods of disuse follow. Problem is I have to admit it helps. As has losing 12 pounds which became easier as I exercised more when I use the CPAP consistently.

    Tried just the nose mask recently (with a chin strap to attempt to keep the mouth closed) but that was for me even less pleasant as when I inevitably open my mouth (the chin strap is relatively useless) air rushed through my nasal passages out my mouth. So I am returning to the full mask now (after I get over my currently cold and recent oral surgery). Or I’ll just update my will. One of the two.

  11. Lisa D.B. Taylor says:

    Holy crap you poor thing! I don’t think I could sleep with that thing on my face. Of course I can’t sleep without ambien. I love ambien – sleeping has been fine since I began using it and I have none of those weird side effects (like sleep driving) the media would have us believe are so prevalent. Hope things get better for you!

  12. Kalani says:

    I want to be mature but you said micro-arousals. I keep thinking of mini-erections.

  13. Charlotte says:

    I can’t go to sleep. I have had insomnia all my life. I know there would be no way I could go to sleep with someone observing my tossing, turning. I think they would give me a better sleeping pill.

  14. Hazel Hunter says:

    I had some really weird sleep happenings and somewhere theirs got to be some of the few that have this as far as I know it’s not an every day media event on any thing.I caught myself talking to someone.Who? I don’t know .I was awake but my eyes closed and hearing words that I could not understand coming from me-heres the kicker .My sisiter 69 lives in a room byhelf next to me but we are so separated I cannot here anything from her room with her door usually shut,until one morning around a week or could have only been days later her door was opened just enough for me to peep in for only a moment ,when I did (accidently) heard and saw her sound in a deep sleep and talking away to someone.I wondered what is this ,nothing is planned ,programed,these things really happened and I would have loved to know what we said and if that invisible talker was telling her and I things .Was it a different talker she was talking with ? This is so errie ,hard to believe.I need to set up a timed video that only records when she starts talking to who or whatever,I must know and what I was talking to as my mind recalled the hearing and the movement of my mouth so this was not made up.To me things like this really make me wonder.We are not the kind of people that talks to themselves in public or at home awake(not in our comfort zones) I want to get a professional if possible as this is just not the norm.Theres more but for now this is enough info for any one unless their are others that have known or seen this happen too,then I would love to converse and share notes. Things have happen and I have analized so much back to square one,this I promise would be a book that I had all this time but just now recalled this particular weird happening .Debunk away folks !

  15. carrie says:

    Peace to you

  16. dan gist says:

    It puts a real damper on your sex life. Nothing is sexier than sleeping next to Darth Vader.
    I’ve had a cpap since 92 If I don’t use it, I’ll quit breathing altogether and then jump up like the fire alarm went off in my ear trying to catch my breath. I had a friend that died of apnea.

  17. Dann Alexander says:

    What is this sleep you refer to? I close my eyes every night and hope I manage to actually rest. But it does not happen.

  18. Lee says:

    Been there, done that, but without the hilarious techs. They were all serious and businessy when I did the sleep test. I could never get the headgear to stay in place. Fortunately, I have a mild case so I haven’t faced death since I discarded the space gear, with a few choice parting words. Hope it works better for you. The cat will love it!

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