Monday, April 19, 2010

flip side of the pillow...

Have you ever woken yourself up at night? And then wondered...'What the hell?'

Last night as I was happily snoozing away and I hear Gwwack! Loud.

Good Lord, what an amazing sound! It was so deafening and annoying that it woke me from my slumber. My mind somehow acknowledges that the sound has emanated from me, although I wish I could blame it on something else. I didn't even know I could make such a noise.

The scores are running the board. 7.5 - 7.0 - 8.0 - 8.0 - 9.5!

Yes! A nine point five!
She's done it ladies and gentlemen! Almost a perfect score!
Nancy has reached the pinnacle of her sleeping career with this unbelievable display of sleep apnea!


I've talked to you about this before. This inability to get a good nights rest. I've tried many things to induce a deep sleep.

Melatonin. Nope. That seems to work the opposite on me. I take it and 20 minutes later when a 'normal' person would be in a deep sleep lala land, I'm tossing and turning; tying my legs in knots within my down comforters.

Tylenol PM. Huh-uh. Nothing. I'm just spinning in my sheets with a feeling of Jimmy Hendrix purple haze.

Blue Moon pints with a Washington Apple shot chaser. Yeah. That doesn't work either. Fun and delicious, but not a sleep provider. And no, martinis or wine don't work either. They just make me snore louder.

But last night I was actually asleep. I could tell. Johnny Depp was sitting by my bedside reading The Hobbit to me, glancing over time and again to make sure I was comfortable. And then, Gwwack! I woke myself up. I remember apologizing aloud. I didn't want Johnnny to get the wrong impression of his muse. But he was no longer there and the dogs couldn't have cared less about what was going on. They rolled over, garnering a little bit more of the space left on the bed and stretched. It didn't matter to them what sound I emitted, sleeping or not, as long as it wasn’t a command to “Get Down!“.

I'd like to believe that I sleep like those you see in the soft lit scenes from movies. When they do a close up and the sleeping beauty is just that...a beauty. A soft glow illuminating the perfect skin and hair while the heroine sleeps peacefully.  Lips slightly parted, brows unfurrowed. A man watches her rest. And because of her obvious perfection she has become the object of his desire, adoration filling his eyes. She lies there, peaceful; flawless.

I don't think I fit that picture.

I don’t want to disturb the impeccable image you have developed of me, but I need to clarify a few things that may change your opinion. I have to get up a few times in the night to readjust my pajamas as they have managed to twist and wedge themselves into places they weren’t meant to inhabit. That and flip over my pillow in order to get a dry spot on the pillow case due to my drooling. My lips aren't slightly parted, they are relaxed and slack. my jaw opening wider with each deep breath. My hair looks as though I spin and breakdance throughout the night on my pillows and because of the dogs, I contort my body into unnatural positions while I'm unconscious. I look more like those sick people you see in the NyQuil commercials as they snore their way to a perfect nights rest than that of Liv Tyler in Lord of the Rings. I don’t sleep gracefully. I toss and I turn. I drool and I now find out I make sounds like Gwwack! when I sleep.

I remember one New Years Eve skiing with friends. On a whim several couples decided to trek over to Peak N’Peak, a nearby ski resort in Pennsylvania, for the holiday. We all shared a small condo for the festivities as all the large houses had been booked long before. The couple that pulled it together got the one available bedroom and the rest of us camped out in the large great room. It was a blast. We didn’t mind the close quarters.

After the first night there, we all awoke stiff from the skiing and sleeping on the floor; and groggy from a night of swilling local wine. The recollections and stories of events of the previous day started over breakfast. We all laughed about how we stole Lee’s clothes while he was in the hot tub. And he, not a modest fellow, got us all back by not caring and walking about naked. Gail was a primper, hogging the only bathroom. So we turned off the hot water halfway through her 12 minute shower to make a point. In turn she over seasoned our Salmon that evening leaving us all scurrying for dry bread to cool the burn of the red pepper flakes. We teased Barber that he didn’t need that name since he was going bald; rapidly. And Suzie informed us that my ex and I were perfect for each other. Not only had she noticed that for breakfast he ate the yolks of our eggs and I the whites, but as we slept…we made music.

No. Not that kind of music. At least at that moment, thank you, but seemingly choreographed snore music to the delight of those sharing our immediate sleeping space. He emitted snores by air out and I apparently, snored in. Who knew?

I don't have much knowledge of Sleep Apnea and had to do a little Google’ing about it. I find out that this is indeed the culprit for my lack of quality rest. My brain has to continually wake me up because I have stopped breathing while I sleep.

I called and spoke with my doctor about my sleeping habits. He feels we should run some tests, but basically told me that my brain now is on alert; always ready to wake me. It thinks that at any time I will stop with my in and out air flow, so it’s ready to nudge me into awake mode that allows me to live just a little bit longer. This process doesn't allow me to get to the proper depth of sleep needed for REM mode. So I wake each morning still unrested. Still tired. Still in need of recharge.


So not only are my dreams of looking peaceful and fabulous while I sleep dashed, but it looks as if those deep nights restful sleep are like a carrot dangling in front of a horse. I want them, but may not get them anytime soon.

I don't think I'm going to be winning any beauty contests while sleep comotose in the near future. If ever. I sure do hope that someday my Prince Charming is enthralled by the sound of Gwwack! and the coolness of my drool. Or at least tolerant of it.

That’d be cool.
Just like the flip side of the pillow…


FOOTNOTE: On the recommendation of many of you, I did a little search on those CPAP machines. Although it seems that this is the solution, and may indeed 'improve my quality of life', I will look into them and ask my doctor about being fitted.

I am further put aside about my future appearance in bed though with wearing said contraption. My Prince might no longer have to hear Gwwack! but hopefully he will be a big Sci-Fi movie fan. I'm a mouth breather, so the masks that look to fit me would make me to look a little like the Alien from the movie Predator. How attractive. Even if I were wearing make-up like the starlets in films, you would never know it under all the cords, belts and hoses.

I suppose that I'll get extrodinary rest and look a million times better in the morning! Perhaps if I take Marvin the Martian point and sleep sans pajamas then perhaps no one will notice the head gear? I think the spelling for this machine should be changed to CRAP.


  1. Ooooh....I type about sleep apnea all the time with my job. Have you had a sleep study and been fitted with a CPAP machine? Looks the devil, but apparently they work like a darn.

    Not sleeping well? Stinks. I don't have apnea, and hate it when I wake up. Can't imaging waking up night after night...bleh.

    Good luck. And here's to naps.

  2. Hey Nancy! Apnea's a nasty business. A friend had his licence taken away because he would doze off while driving because he wasn't sleeping properly. He ended up (doc's orders) sleeping with an oxygen mask on and a cylinder of it next to his bed, and it did the trick. Hopefully it won't come to that for you! Indigo

  3. So sorry you are losing sleep. I am a fellow snorer and it's not my own snoring that wakes me up, but the constant rib jabs or kicks to the shins by my husband. I use those "Breathe Right" nose strips and they've helped me.

  4. You should get tested, Nancy. One of my friends was waking up 200 times per night. She was just fitted with a CPAP and sleeps like a baby now.

  5. Sleep apnea can be serious. I know several people who are dealing with it. I've heard positives about those CPAP machines.

  6. Oh Johnny, why are you cheating on me with a snorer? that's just offensive.

    My dad had sleep apnea so bad that they did surgery to enlarge his nasal passages and remove some extra tissue.

    It made the most amazing difference in his life.

    The CPAP machine has made huge changes in the lives of my friends who suffer from it.

  7. I'm going to go for further testing about my sleeping habits, but from the intial questionaire, I'm at a light to medium risk. It's not extremely bad...just rather annoying presently.

    The thought of getting pure oxygen would be heavenly, but wearing a mask to sleep would be hell. But I'm sure I'd get used to it! Tres sexy I'm sure! Just add that to the list for Prince Charming!


  8. The flip side of the pillow. Teehee. I have occasionally noted that the other side of the pillow is a nice thing. Here's hoping Johnny will come back to you. I am sure he doesn't mind and finds you beautiful while you snooze.

  9. If it weren't such an issue, it'd be funny. I can only imagine how it must feel to never be fully rested. Look into one of those CPAPs- it seems like everyone's recommending them!

  10. Hey at least you only snore! I talk and apparently give away my hard earned money! Thankfully my sister no longer lives with me, the punk used to get away with my dough all because I agreed to it in my sleep!

    Recently I had had trouble getting to sleep. I don't think yoga helps sleep apnea but it may help your body better prepare for sleep. This weekend I found a yoga video on Hulu called Zen in Your Den. For 3 nights now I have had the best sleep of my life! Baby-good sleep! Maybe you should give it a go?

    Hope you resolve the whole sleep apnea thing soon.

  11. The first thing that came to my mind was the breathe right would be an inexpensive way to see if your mild apnea could be resolved that way....


  12. According to my wife I sleep pretty hard. I drool and snore alot too. My biggest issue is I roll, alot. If ya played a video of me sleeping in fast forward it would look like a crocodile death roll.

  13. Usually, I'm so zonked out when I sleep I don't notice ANYTHING. Even a hailstorm. Or rain. Or deafening thunder. Trust me, its happened before. I wish I could wake up every now and then at night though, because its always so beautiful at night. But I have such a hard time falling asleep that I mentally have to calm myself, and then I'm done for.

  14. funny that you use gwwack as a keyword... makes it sound like you'll be using the word for years to come. I hope you don't as it implies another night of bad sleep...

    Don't know anything about sleeping badly, apart from that since I started training long distance there's hardly been a bad nights sleep... I've always been a deep sleeper though.

    Hope you find a solution...

  15. Sleep apnea, mild or otherwise is NO FUN. Our doc thought hubby had mild apnea - after a sleep study we discovered that he has severe apnea; central apnea and obstructive apnea. he had adjusted to always being tired. now with the mask and machine he sleeps much better but still has many apneas each night.
    yes to testing. a mask is managable and quality of life improves.
    all the best - promise to let us know how it goes?

  16. This one sure had me laughing. My poor sister - her husband has sleep apnea and it drives her to sleep in another part of the house. I'm sure you'll find some kind of solution but unfortunately, if it involves masks and/or harnesses it won't make you a more glamourous sleeper, even if you do wear makeup to bed (like all those starlets!)

  17. Pajamas. Those sound lke a problem. ;-)

  18. Great story. My hub had sleep apnea for a zillion years, and even after a scary episode of atrial fibrillation (after which--in the hospital E.R. the cardiologist immediately asked, "Do you have sleep apnea?") he wouldn't deal with it, because he's claustrophobic and feared he could never cope with the CPAP machine. Then after a routine colonoscopy our doctor came into the recovery room and told him that his oxygen levels had dropped so low that an alarm went off, and that was BEFORE the doctor even started the procedure! That finally got hub's attention. He's now had the CPAP for six years, and it's totally changed his life. Now he has more energy, doesn't need naps, etc. I highly recommend that you check into it-- it's so worth it. Your quality of life is at stake!


  19. Kevin actually video taped me in my sleep snoring. Luckily, it was too dark to view, but I could hear.

    We are a rare and beautiful breed.


  20. Good luck with that. You will be amazed at how much better you feel and can function as soon as you start getting good sleep. Not sleeping well is not a good thing.

  21. HA! Last week-end, I distinctly remember being woken by my own breathing (not snoring, just breathing)... very, very strange, but 'gwak' is infinitely more cool (and infinitely more eerie?).

    I'm sorry that you're not getting enough rest... and although I can't pitch in with any useful advice, I'm sure you'll find some of the suggestions in the other comments helpful!

    In the meantime... here's to naps. :o)

  22. i love how johnny depp was reading "The Hobbit" to you! ha!

    it is such a nightmare when you can't fall asleep, though- that happened to me the other night. thankfully, it happens VERY rarely!

  23. Wow, my mom used to say, "you can accomplish anything as long as you get a good nights sleep" - I am sorry you are not sleeping. But I love the Johnny Depp reference.

  24. I have woken myself up too. I will just have woken up, and a phrase from whatever I was dreaming about will exit my mouth. Then, as I wake up a little bit more, I'm cracking up at myself, and wondering why my lips just uttered a purely stupid statement. :)

  25. Some people can get by with a dental appliance that keeps your jaw from sliding into your neck. I, personally, can't even keep my neck from sliding into my neck. There's a whole neck cascade going on there. Plus, I drool so bad that drowning is a possibility. Johnny Depp won't even answer my letters full of toenail clippings.

  26. Nancy, I am so laughing ove the dexcrition of yourself...sounds like me. I sometimes wake up to my hubby sitting there staring in concern because he's afraid I'm not going to wake up because I've stopped breathing over and over...I won't even talk about the snoring. He made me do the sleep test about 15 years ago. I only stopped breathing five times in what ever the time frame they were doing which did not warrant a CPAP. Both of my parents and one sister use them. One of my kids once said that Gramma scared them because she looked like an aliean at night! Good look. Hope you get some sleep. I've at least gotten to where Benadryl or a shot of something puts me out for about four hours and then I'm up the rest of the night...of course, there's always the worry of whether or not I'll wake up when I'm feeling sooo exhausted. Crazy isn't it?!

  27. My husband has a Cpac and believe me I sleep much better at night!!

  28. Hi..I am new to your blog. I don't mean to dash your hopes of solving your snoring problem but I do know my sister-in-law has spent several thousand dollars, several surgeries, CPac machines and snore guards..all to no avail. As a dentist, I do know some people who have had success with the snore guards. However, they come with their own set of problems. I am so sorry Johny was scared off...oh well...there is always another night!!!


  29. Haha... this brings back memories of my childhood. I recall several occasions that I was jerked from my slumber by the sound of my DAD snoring in the other room. He tried all kinds of things; mainly those little strips that hold your nose open or whatever. Nothing worked. My mom resorted to sleeping on the couch for a while. Hope you're able to get something worked out. There's nothing worse than feeling tired all the time.


Do it. Do it NOW!