Adam Smith used to snore…BAD!
At one point, while he was spending the night at his friend Robert Patterson’s house, his snoring was so loud that it prevented Patterson from getting any sleep, and he was resting two floors below Smith.
“It was like someone was working on their motorcycle two floors above me, and they were pulling an all nighter,” Patterson said. “I was close to literally going upstairs and telling my best friend he’d have to spend the night sleeping in his car or a hotel room – it was that bad.”
In the morning, Patterson, who at the time was studying to become a respiratory therapist, sat Smith down and told him to get tested for Sleep Apnea.
“I’d heard the term Sleep Apnea before, but I had no idea what it meant,” Smith said. “I knew it had something to do with snoring but that was about as in depth as I knew at the time.”
Sleep Apnea is a common disorder that impacts the health of one-in-four
Canadian men and one-in-nine Canadian women – most of whom don’t even know they have the disorder.
Sleep Apnea causes short pauses or stoppages in breathing while a person sleeps. These pauses are referred to in the medical world as apneas.
Apneas are caused by a blockage or partial blockage of a person’s airway, which temporarily stops breathing. When the brain realizes that the person isn’t
breathing, it awakes the sufferer just enough to take a breath.
“I wasn’t even aware this was going on while I slept,” Smith said. “Once Robert explained what was likely going on while I slept and the possible health risks, I knew it was time to talk to my doctor about it.”
When Smith returned home he visited his family doctor to share his newly found health concerns, which he now felt meant he had Sleep Apnea.
“As I was learning more about Sleep Apnea from the doctor, suddenly all my random naps at odd times made sense,” Smith said. “I would fall asleep at work and even once in the middle of a conversation.”
Those events and the recommendation of his doctor led Smith to see a sleep specialist. Visiting a sleep clinic for a sleep test is the best way to confirm if you have Sleep Apnea and confirm the severity of the condition.
“I went into the sleep clinic at about 9 p.m. and they put you in a room and you sleep there overnight.”
While at the sleep clinic, Smith had electrodes taped to his head to monitor his brain activity. Tests similar to this are available through Peak Sleep Clinics for free and you can do them from the comfort of your own bed.
“It was a little weird, but well worth it to find out I had Sleep Apnea.”
A few days after his sleep test, Smith returned to the sleep clinic for his results.
“I was on the severe end of the spectrum, as I was having around 60 apneas per hour.”
Suddenly there was an explanation for why he’d fall asleep during conversations. Adam was essentially waking up for a brief second once every minute.
The Sleep Specialist’s recommendation to treat Smith’s Sleep Apnea: CPAP Therapy.
CPAP therapy is a very simple, easy, non-invasive therapy to treat Sleep Apnea and help those that suffer with the disorder get a restful night’s sleep.
Basically, the person wears a mask (see page 13 for types of masks) while they sleep and a CPAP machine will lightly pump air pressure through the mask. This light air pressure keeps the airway open, so that blockages do not occur.
“I thought whatever, I’ll try it (CPAP therapy) for a few weeks and see how it goes,” Smith said. “Pretty quickly I noticed a difference in my health because I wasn’t tired all the time.”
However, like most people, Smith had concerns over what it was going to be like to sleep with a mask on.
Would it stay on? How comfortable would it be to sleep with a mask on? And what would others think, were all thoughts that ran through his head.
“It took like two, maybe three nights, and sleeping with the mask on became normal,” Smith said. “It was just a matter of knowing how much give I had in the hose, because I didn’t want to roll over and pull the machine off the night-table, so once I got used to that, it was all good.”
Two years have past since Smith decided to treat his Sleep Apnea with CPAP therapy.
And what’s the biggest difference he’s noticed in his health?
“Well, I sleep a lot better and I don’t need to take constant naps or fall asleep in weird random places anymore, and I don’t snore.”
“Life is a whole lot better when you can actually sleep well.”
*Story based on patient’s experiences
Come take a Peak Sleep Clinic Sleep test in March to see if you have Sleep Apnea and you could win tickets to see the Calgary Flames or a Calgary Co-op $100 gift card.
Schedule your sleep test by calling 1-855-738-PEAK (7325) or 403-265-8149