August: Anne’s thoughts on sleep
Did you know that we spend a third of our life sleeping? Did you know that we need to spend this time sleeping to rejuvenate our body, minds and soul? Healthy Sleep is essential for maintaining good heath, just as healthy eating and proper exercise is important for our bodies to function as our Lord intended them to.
This is my 20th year working in Sleep and particularly helping people with their Sleep Apnea equipment. My passion for helping people sleep was kindled years ago when a lady came in to the sleep lab I was working in at that time. I was a new Sleep Technologist and the equipment was nothing like we have now, it was big and bulky and only a handful of uncomfortable masks to choose from, but the process was the same as today. We treated the collapsed airways with positive air pressure until breathing and oxygenation was healthy again. This particular lady I recall was extremely tired, falling asleep in her wheel chair and very grumpy. She had very little color in her cheeks, no desire to move, and no motivation to hold a conversation with me during the sleep study preparation. She moaned and groaned as I tried to get her to follow our protocols, stating “I will never fall asleep here as long as I live.” She was out within 3 min!! Her Sleep Apnea was very severe. She snored loudly, stopped breathing over 100 times an hour, and her oxygen dipped to deathly looking levels. I quickly put her on the CPAP machine, a large breathing machine at the time with nobs and a one size fits all mask!! Not quiet, but in those days we worked with what we had. I started the pressure on 5 cm and adjusted it up until the airway miraculously popped open and she went into the most beautiful dream pattern I had ever seen at that time!
See, when someone doesn’t get enough good sleep, the body will compensate and go into the stages of sleep the body needs when they are able to sleep again!! As a young technologist then I said to myself “wow, this really works”, and this is the day I fell in love with Sleep therapy. The next day the lady awakened with a smile, color in her cheeks, chatting at me and said she had not had a dream in years!!
Today I often think of this special lady that kindled my love for this career in Sleep and pray she is still using her CPAP and doing well. I encourage everyone to take a special look at their own sleep and their loved ones, and realize what a blessing good healthy sleep is and to understanding that sleep is so important to our health. There is help, special doctors and specialists, like myself, that help people with their CPAP equipment. It is very important to get your equipment checked at least every 6 months for hygiene purposes and because the masks and machine’s need to periodically be replaced and to see your doctor once a year about your sleep prescription too. Thank you, Anne Turner