Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I like dreaming.

Actually, I like sleeping. I hate waking up. Not because I'm depressed. No, life is pretty good right now most of the time. (Unfortunately, life's not really good everywhere right now...there's an awful war going on & a seriously messed up guy just up & shot a bunch of people at a college in Virginia...but my personal life is not bad.) No, I'm not depressed. I'm just anxiously awaiting the next step in treating sleep apnea.

Have you ever heard of sleep architecture? I had never ever heard of such a thing until last week, when I learned that mine is disordered. Well, THAT's just what I needed to hear. LOL. Seriously, sleep architecture is a pretty interesting concept.

Normally, sleep architecture looks something like this:

Stage 1 - a sort of "pre-sleep" - 5%
Stage 2 - a not-quite-deep sleep - 50%
Stages 3 and 4 (AKA Delta sleep or slow-wave sleep) - 20-25%
REM sleep - 20-25%

My sleep architecture looks like this:

Stage 1 - 5% (so something's normal about me)
Stage 2 - 77%
Stages 3 and 4 - 0%
REM sleep - 17%

Why the lack of slow-wave sleep? Good question. Some might say it's the apnea itself. But in 2001 I had a sleep study. I wasn't sleeping long enough, but back then I had higher than average slow-wave sleep. What's different? I wasn't taking SSRI's. I started those in the fall of 2001. I DID have more obstructive apneas back then - & I weighed 25 pounds less than I do now. So, like I've said all along, I don't think my weight has as much to do with it as my nose, throat & neck.

I've learned a lot. For instance...from the blog See One, Do One, Teach One, lack of slow-wave sleep has shown to decrease cognitive performance. And here I thought I was just forgetting everything because I'm about to turn 40. Also, according to this same doctor, you increase your chances of having a car wreck. Untreated patients with narcolepsy have a ten times more risk of car accidents than normal subjects. This morning I had to stop & nap for 5 minutes before hitting the road again. I almost didn't make it.

Here's what ought to make me stand up & take notice: Less sleep equals more fat. “appetite is substantially larger.” Lack of sleep is associated with abnormalities in the hormones that control food intake.

And here's another one...I can actually back this one up with real examples...people who sleep normally, live longer. Ever heard of Marty Robbins? I'm a big Marty Robbins fan. I have visited his grave on a couple of occasions. He did just about everything. He was an awesome singer, a great songwriter, not a bad race car driver. He also acted, wrote Western books, & did a lot of other stuff. He didn't sleep much. In the PBS special, his son Ronny said that his dad didn't sleep much. He put 90 years of life into his 57 years. Now that I'm 40, 57 seems pretty young. He was the first person in the world to have a triple-vessel heart bypass surgery. That's not such an awesome statistic to have. He did, however, live 13 years after that, which was probably pretty good at the time.

My grandmother didn't sleep much either. She'd stay up until midnight watching "Gunsmoke" & reading, then she'd get up early in the morning & work, either at a restaurant or in the garden or the kitchen. I can close my eyes & see her there on the couch, wearing her pajamas, feet on the floor, leaning forward with her elbows on her knees, cigarette in her right hand, book in the left, moving her lips as she read silently. You know, she quit smoking about a year before she died. She got hypnotized. It worked. Her heart didn't get her. Neither did her lungs. She had a ruptured ulcer which was attributed to steroid use for a skin condition. That last year of her life was the only one she didn't spend working hours in the garden, staying up all night canning beans or making zucchini relish or cooking a huge Thanksgiving dinner. The prednisone just zapped her completely. But Mom & I think she wore herself out.

Well, I'm convinced I need to get some sleep therapy. I wish they'd call me & get me set up for this thing already.


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