At Sleep Medicine Services, Snoring Sleepers Get Help

The Resmed Airsense 10 is the latest in devices that prevent sleep apnea.
The Resmed Airsense 10 is the latest in devices that prevent sleep apnea.

I have always been a noisy sleeper–snoring like a banchee and known for falling asleep while sitting in my favorite chair.  To many people, this might indicate that I have sleep apnea, and with this in mind I met today with a friendly nurse practitioner named Cathy Burbank at Sleep Medicine Services in Amherst.   I play music with Cathy’s husband John, so she knew I was coming in, and I shared my various issues including waking up four and five times a night and my loud snoring reputation.

Cathy has a calm and steady demeanor, the way you hope medical people will be when you interact with them. We talked about snoring and about apnea, and on her desk was a 10″ wide device that looked a bit like a clock radio.  It was the latest CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device, which you hook up to your nose with a small nostril fitting, and it keeps you breathing at night. This model, which goes for about $800, has a humidifier built in, so it gives you a bit of heated steam, helping the process.  Cathie also showed some other devices, like a molded wearable dental device that keeps  you from snoring.  Nobody is sure that I have apnea until I take a sleep test, so we were not sure which road will be taken.

I have been told that I make alarming noises while I sleep–and I’ve had dreams where I wake up in a start, thinking that I cannot breathe. All of this makes me think that this device might help, but nobody knows until I take this home sleep test.  I left the offices of Sleep Medicine Services with a little device that I’ll hook up to my nose and my finger tonight, and they can download data about my sleep patterns.   I’ll wear the device and tomorrow, drop it off with them and they can analyze how I slept and what the best treatment is.

I look forward to sound sleeping and less napping, if all goes as planned.