Married with Sleep Apnea

By: Hope B
Woodbridge,VA

He wakes up every morning around 2 am and cannot go back to sleep. Normally I hear him as he leaves the room to avoid waking me. I still wake up but luckily I can go back to sleep. Nights are difficult for him. He waits until late to go to bed. If he doesn’t he stands a greater chance of waking up earlier. Sleeping for eight hours at a time is foreign. His insomnia is a given; couple that with his sleep apnea
and even a restful night’s sleep is unknown.

My husband has sleep apnea. He uses a CPAP machine
at times but is usually so exhausted that he sometimes forgets to use it. His snoring
is a silent joke in the household. The family knows when he’s sleeping; Santa Clause like. For him, it is not a joke. The more he snores the less likely he is resting and the more likely he will be grouchy (“foggy” as he calls it) the next morning. There are times things get better. His snoring calms down and he sleeps late; 5 am for him. I find that it is usually when he is so worn out that his body gives him no choice. He crashes.

The first time I slept beside my husband, I could not sleep. His snoring kept me awake most of the night and just when I was relaxed enough; he would snort, gag, and jump up. It was terrifying. The Mayo Clinic website describes sleep apnea as a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. I knew absolutely nothing about this disorder until I met my husband. There are nights when I shake him because he stopped breathing for longer than I’m comfortable with.

My husband has had sleep apnea now for over 10 years. It started when he began taking steroids to treat pain in his shoulder. His weight ballooned up to 350 lbs. Since then he has made steps to eradicate the problem. He lost the excess weight; avoids alcohol; cut back on his caffeine consumption; and sleeps on his side. He also has a CPAP machine to help him breathe at night
.

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder
affecting many particularly African-American and Hispanic men. If left untreated it can lead to serious, life-shortening problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, automobile accidents, diabetes, depression and other problems. Sleep apnea affects not only the person with the disorder but their spouse or partner if the snoring is particularly loud. This is where the CPAP helps.

CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure is a treatment option for sleep apnea sufferers. The mask is worn over the airways during sleep to provide pressurized air continuously into the throat. This stops the airway from collapsing during sleep. My husband’s snoring is very loud. Over the years, I have seen vast improvements
. His use of the CPAP machine has helped him gain a restful night sleep more often than not. His insomnia is still a problem but as long as he has the mask on even those few hours of restful sleep allows him to function.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects many in the United States. This disorder causes the sufferer to not experience the restful rejuvenation of sleep. It also has an effect on their spouse or partner. The numerous treatment options available, including the CPAP help sufferers to sleep soundly. Without this treatment, sufferers stand the chance of experiencing life-shortening events. Thankfully, the CPAP machine is available to my husband. For those who use it, they are able to get a restful night sleep.

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