Dr. Oz always says we need to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night (I know that I need at least 8 or else I am a mess the next day!). I felt so badly for Dr. Oz’s guests: Brian and Jennifer. Both Brian and Jennifer snore, but Brian snores so loudly that Jennifer sometimes has to ask him to sleep downstairs so she can get some sleep too… hence the funny nickname “sleep alligator” that Jennifer gave to Brian. When Brian snores, he sounds like he is gasping for air and he often wakes up in the middle of the night and feels like he cannot breathe.
Dr. Oz took Jennifer and Brian to the truth tube, and said that between their heavy weights, their neck sizes (over 17″ means you almost definitely have sleep apnea, though Dr. Oz prefers your neck size to be under 15″), plus some other tell tale signs (night urination, memory loss and headaches) made them both the classic examples of people with sleep apnea.
Even though Dr. Oz was sure that they had sleep apnea, he had them both use a Watermark Medical Home Sleeping Test to determine how bad their sleep apnea was. Brian’s sleep apnea was so severe that he suffocates 67 times an hour… that is more than once a minute… can you imagine? Dr. Oz said that this is going to slowly kill him. Jennifer’s sleep apnea was not nearly as severe, but she still was diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Carol Ash, an expert on sleep disorders, gave this 3 step program:
1. Sleep Reality Check – do you have difficulty sleeping? do you wake up often? Don’t forget that “a sleepy brain is a poor brain” … I could not agree more with that!
2. Make Lifestyle Changes – if you lose 10% of your body weight, your sleep apnea improves by 1/3… this is significant! It is amazing to me how the underlying answer for so many different medical problems is to lead a healthy lifestyle with healthy foods and exercise.
3. Pick the Right Treatment – CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is a machine that you wear around your head when you sleep and it forces air into your system to make sure you don’t stop breathing at night. My father actually has this machine and it makes all the difference to both him (and my mother who used to be tortured by his snoring). Did you know that having a snoring partner is the number one reason people don’t get enough good quality sleep? For less severe cases of sleep apnea, there is a dental appliance that pulls your jaw forward so that there is more space and you can breathe more easily.
Jennifer and Brian are going to be treated at Midwest Sleep Diagnostics… can’t wait to see follow-ups on how their lives improve!