"the nicest and the sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple pleasure, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
Lucy Maud Montgomery

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sleep Demons

In the midst of all of the medical chaos that is my life my husband, "Nick," decided he was not getting enough attention, and signed himself up for a sleep study. Actually, I've been asking him to talk to his doctor about this for five years. He really didn't think it was necessary since, well...he's asleep when it happens. He finally asked her a few weeks ago.

I have always had a fascination with sleep and sleep studies. I took some psychology courses in college and was drawn to the mysteries of sleep. One of my favorite books is "Sleep Demons," by Bill Hayes. Especially interesting to me are the sleep deprivation studies done by Dr. Nathaniel Kleitman. Dreams also fascinate me. Are they a purging of unnecessary information, a message of things we need to deal with in our life, a foreboding? I don't have any answers but I am nonetheless intrigued.

About five years ago, after returning from the hospital post heart-attack, I became terrified of sleeping. The "event" had happened in the wee hours of the morning and I was quite anxious of it happening again. I would stay up at night as late as I possibly could without falling asleep, sometimes three or four in the morning. When I could no longer stay awake I would crawl into bed ever so careful as to not wake up "Nick." I would lay next to him and "pace" my breathing with his to help calm my anxiety. It would calm me down, momentarily, until he suddenly stopped breathing. I would end up in a full blown panic, nudge him, and he would finally gasp and start breathing again. It was a vicious cycle. To this day I have trouble falling asleep, I suppose I always will, although I have a new BFF...ativan.

He flunked his sleep study in a big way. Stopped breathing about thirty-five times in an hour. He will be set up with a CPAP at the end of the month and hopefully will be getting some well-deserved, restful sleep. Me on the other hand...I'm not quite sure.


  1. I hope y'all are both getting good restful sleep soon!

  2. once he gets used to his little buddy (took me several weeks) he will feel better and will learn he can not sleep with out it! may i suggest the nose mask it civers only the nose and had a soft head rest and the head straps are more comfortable than others that i have tried. I loved the thought of the nasal cannula type but found that it irritated the heck out of the nasal passages. My dad uses the full face mask but I felt ummm confined and claustrophobic with it. tell the hubby person that ripping the mask off in the night and tossing it across the room is not uncommon but to always remember to put it back on, sleep apnea kills. this ends the public service announcement! love n hugs Laura

  3. My husband has sleep apnea and has been on CPAP for several years. It made a new man out of him as he didn't realize how sleep deprived he was. As Peach said, he will not be able to sleep without it. My husband has the full mask that covers his nose and mouth. Good luck to your husband.

  4. words could bet mixed up in posts - Fear not - the fear makes the anxiety worse. I have a breathing exercise you could use before going to sleep at night, it will help with your anxiety. Let me know if you are interested.

  5. It will take some getting used to for BOTH of you. But it will be worth the adjustment.


  6. Both david and I have sleep apnea and we both wear the full masks, that cover both nose and mouth. I started out with the nose only but had to go to the full mask, a month ago, as I was starting to snore again. It makes a great difference in your life. The 1st week is a adjustment but well worth it. He will sleep better and awake much more refreshed. Now for you, I don't know. Breathing exercises and ativan can help.

    God Bless ~


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