I partnered with Philips to raise awareness for this serious issue. As usual, all thoughts and views 100% are my own.
If you ever suffered from insomnia, severe jet lag, or had to a newborn baby, you know why sleep deprivation is a technique used in interrogations. After days of no sleep, you will say and do anything just to get some shuteye.
Now imagine going through this for years…That is what I have been going through without realizing it. Literally years without proper sleep.
It all started with the usual morning conversation of “You were snoring again dad” and then my favorite “it sounded like you stopped breathing.” Of course, I didn’t take this seriously. A lot of people snore, what’s the big deal?
Well, it turns out it is a big deal.
While many people snore for a variety of reasons, the reason I was “snoring” was because every night, several times per hour, I would literally stop breathing.
Time to see the doc…
After some tests, and a sleep study, the doc confirmed that I have Sleep Apnea. This is when your sleep gets interrupted, your airways collapse, and prevents oxygen from reaching the lungs. Your brain then jolts your body awake, so you take a breath again. Instead of the organs going into a relaxed stage until the morning, they are constantly being jolted to keep you alive which takes a toll and left undiagnosed, this leads to serious effects on the body including a much higher risk of having a stroke.
This is common. Many people actually suffer from Sleep Apnea and are not aware of it.
Do you suffer from Sleep Apnea?
Firstly, not everyone who snores suffers from sleep apnea. However, if your partner tells you that it sounded like you stopped breathing, then please get it checked out.
Here are some common signs that might indicate you should take this lack of sleep more seriously:
- Pauses in breathing while sleeping
- Making chocking sounds while asleep
- Can’t seem to “catch up” on sleep
- Constantly tired regardless of the time you went to bed
- Easily fall asleep while watching TV or a movie.
- Can’t shake the tired feeling during the day
- Driving even short distances makes you tired
You could also head over to this free and quick test from Philips to see how many symptoms you have.
How do you treat Sleep Apnea?
The good news is that technology has evolved at such a rapid rate, that treating sleep apnea is not only possible at home, but also possible when you travel.
What you need is a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and provides a flow of positive-pressure air through a mask to keep the airway open during sleep.
Essentially you get into bed, put the mask on, the mask is connected via a micro-flexible tubing to the CPAP machine which is next to your bed, press the On button and air starts to flow into your nose and/or mouth.
This keeps your airways open, so your brain can relax and your body can get into that deep REM sleep cycle and rejuvenate.
While this does take a bit of getting used to, the efforts are literally life-changing and the risk of stroke and heart attacks are severely reduced – not to mention finally getting a good night sleep means you wake up every morning feeling rested.
Type of CPAP machines
There are two types of CPAP machines which I have used. There is one for home use which is permanently plugged next to your bed and is ready for you as you go to sleep.
The other type of machine is a portable CPAP machine which is ideal when you travel. The DreamStation GO from Philips is my personal choice machine for a couple of reasons:
- It is tiny. The machine weighs only 844 g (1.86 lb) and is 15 cm x 15 cm x 5.8 cm which makes it perfect for traveling.
- It is airline safe. I can take it on board the plane in my carry-on luggage with no problem which is great for those trips when I don’t check in luggage.
- Battery pack option. If you are heading on a camping trip where there is no power, you can still take the machine with you and let it run off the battery pack. This is also the perfect solution if you happen to be in a country with unreliable power.
- The DreamMapper App. This DreamStation Go connects to an app on your phone, so you can keep track of your sleep.
- Ease of use. The DreamStation Go has a touchscreen so you can cycle through the menu options just like you would on your cell phone. In 99% of the time, I just hit the on the button and the machine automatically takes care of everything else as per my treatment requirement.
So in Summary:
I recently headed to VidCon in London which was a work trip and lasted 5 days. These trips are awesome and you get to interact with some amazing people, however, it also means very long days. Usually, I suffer on these trips as my sleep is so broken, however all that has now changed with the DreamStation Go. After the exhausting day, I got into bed, wore my mask and switched on the DreamStation Go and next thing I knew, it was morning. I even hugged the machine in the morning!