Working on the Sleep Part of my Mental Health
The First Step
Over the past three months, I have been working on my sleep issues. Those that are new and old to this mental illness life know that sleep is paramount to mental health.
The first step in the process was getting back into my sleep doctor to get the process moving. It was slow going because my sleep doctor is only in town three days out of the month, so it takes time just to get into to see the doctor. I knew already that I had sleep apnea, but because I went through this process three years ago but had issues with the machine. Anyway, I met with my doctor, and through his office, I set up two different sleep studies.
The First Sleep Study
The first sleep study is where they determine if you have sleeping issues. The process is long as it takes about an hour while they hook up wires all over from your head to your legs to they can analyze you through the night. It is tough because sleep is rough with all the wires, and you really have to stay sleeping on your back position. I slept roughly seven hours that night but it is the results that show I was not sleeping.
The results of the first sleep study were terrible all around for me. I stopped breathing (or my breathing was obstructed) in those seven hours no less than 872 times for about an average of approximately 80 times an hour or more an hour. Some were less than a second, and my longest was at 56 seconds. An okay level of not breathing an hour is around 32 times an hour, and that is bad, and so I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. The worst part is during the first sleep study, I got 0% rim sleep, which is also bad as rim sleep is the most critical part of your sleeping.
The Second Sleep Study
The doctor ordered a second sleep study, and the process was the same with one exception. The sleep technicians would be adding a sleep apnea machine with a full face mask. What this machine does is allow constant air keeping the airwave open so that you don’t stop breathing. Throughout the night, the technician watches over you and changes the air pressure until they find the right air pressure that gives you the best sleep possible.
The results were a lot better with the machine. I still stopped breathing throughout the night, but I got it down to about 36 times an hour, still bad and severe, but an improvement considering the setting and the conditions. I also reached rim sleep about 30% of the time, which means that was the best sleep I probably got in my life.
The Next Step
After the second sleep study i had to wait two months to see my doctor and I suffered the entire time with not sleeping well. I will be chronicling my experiences in getting my sleep apnea machine and how the first week went in the next blog post later this week.
Always Keep Fighting
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