Sleeping

Hey everyone!

How are you all doing?

I’m doing as good as can be, so is my family! We are staying home and we are continuing learning and to be active.

Speaking of learning; I want to tell you what I just learned about my sleep apnea.

While sleep apnea is specifically a sleep disorder that means breathing stops and starts during sleep. This I knew, more or less, and was conforming to it, since 2015. However, the doctor I saw did not fully diagnose me, nor did he provide more information.

What I learned from my current sleep specialist, is that there are two different types of sleep apnea: Central and Obstructive.

Obstructive sleep apnea, based on exactly what it says, means airway is obstructed and breathing stops. This is not because one is sleeping on six pillows! Through it might help to sleep on just one!

Central sleep apnea, follows the same sort of thing; breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. However, the cause is not the airway but the brain. The brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing.

What I understand this to mean, is that when I’m sleeping, my brain, also shuts down. At night, when one is sleeping the brain should not be “off” but it should continue to monitor the body’s state: pumping blood, alert to movement (dog scratching herself, cold/hot etc), dreaming, full bladder, and breathing.

So, when I learned that central sleep apnea means that my brain is not sending consistent signals to my lungs to continue breathing, I was a bit anxious. But, remember I have ataxia, which is a neurological disorder, so that means that perhaps my ataxia is at root, mixing the signals to send messages to my, for example, my ears to breath, and my lungs to hear!

This ataxia is really un-fun!

Based on my sleep apnea doctor, the regular CPAP machine – Raise your hand if you know what that is, thank you! – will not work for people with central sleep apnea. She mentioned there is another machine, which is similar to the CPAP, that she will order for me, after I’ve had my sleep study.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, my sleep study has been postponed! So, until then, I won’t know for sure, and my wife will still have to watch me at night while I stop & start breathing. This really causes me grief… I love my wife so much! I’d sleep in the kids room just to let her have a decent night’s sleep!

Be good everyone!

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