Home > Sleep Apnea + Stephen King = This

Sleep Apnea + Stephen King = This

March 7th, 2009 - written by Brian Utley

It’s 4:40 AM and I’ve been awake for 3 hours. I’ve been desperate for sleep and I still find myself waking at oddball hours with words and thoughts racing through my head. Today is a perfect example.

I worked normal hours, got a haircut, dinner, and then spent an hour or so with my parents. We watched TV, sat in the hot tub, and eventually I bid them a goodnight. It was probably 9:00 PM. I read my Stephen King memoir for a few minutes before becoming suddenly, and unavoidably, exhausted. I’m asleep within seconds; lights on, book in hand, no blankets or sheets. Just…completely…out.

Now, historically I’m a terrible sleeper. It normally takes melatonin, GABA, valerian root…I could go on because, really, I’ve tried everything to help me sleep. Not only is it impossible for me to sleep without help, but once I’m asleep the slightest sound or movement wakes me. Also, I have sleep apnea. Major sleep apnea. And I refuse to wear a face mask contraption thing because, quite simply, it’s impossible to sleep with that thing on my face. I won’t even get into the sex appeal aspect of wearing a fighter jet’s oxygen mask at night. It’s not Iron Eagle sexy. It’s nowhere near Top Gun sexy. It’s closer to Bubble Boy sexy. Which is to say, of course, not at all. I digress.

I awoke shortly after midnight with my book on my nightstand, lights off, and several warm blankets on top of me. You may be thinking, a Mom is always a Mom, but no, sometimes Dad is Mom, and even though I have nothing to backup my theory, I know it was him who checked in on his 34 year-old son, who is estranged from his wife and kids, and had words of encouragement ready for me before finding me asleep, and tucked me in. And I don’t feel embarrassed, or as if I’ve regressed. I’m thankful for their strength and willingness to step in and let me know they are ready to catch me, if needed, from this free-fall.

And Stephen King is talking about process and method and the familiar spark hits and ignites the writer in me.

My room is cold. I move upstairs and it’s dark. And even though the book I’m reading is a memoir, it’s still Stephen King. And part of me thinks about Carrie, about Cujo, and about Jack Torrance. And because of that, my surroundings are transformed into what he would create, and I’m nervous. I stretch out my arms to feel for a wall or a light-switch and I think about the possibility of touching something else and examining this object a split second too long, as I realize too late, that it’s the arm, hand, and blade that brings about my violent demise. And all this despite the fact that I don’t read horror.

But this is how my early morning goes. There is no blade, no midnight intruder, and I grab a bowl of chips and some milk and return to my reading. But not before I publish this.

Happy Saturday.

Sleep Apnea + Stephen King = This

Book Thoughts, On Writing, Stephen King

  1. Banyon
    March 7th, 2009 at 10:43 | #1

    You said: “Now, historically I’m a terrible sleeper. It normally takes melatonin, GABA, valerian root…I could go on because, really, I’ve tried everything to help me sleep. Not only is it impossible for me to sleep without help, but once I’m asleep the slightest sound or movement wakes me. Also, I have sleep apnea. Major sleep apnea.”

    There is no “also” to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is the reason you are a “terrible sleeper”. In fact, about 90% of all insomnia is caused by sleep-disordered breathing and sleep apnea is a severe form of sleep-disordered breathing. You will not be able to improve your sleeping without treating your sleep apnea.

    You said, “And I refuse to wear a face mask contraption thing because, quite simply, it’s impossible to sleep with that thing on my face. I won’t even get into the sex appeal aspect of wearing a fighter jet’s oxygen mask at night. It’s not Iron Eagle sexy. It’s nowhere near Top Gun sexy.’

    So how sexy does this sound: “Heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression”? Untreated sleep apnea is the number cause of each of these conditions.

    Get yourself educated about sleep apnea. You might start at one of the good internet forums like cpaptalk.com or sleepguide.com.

    Good luck,

  2. Brian
    March 7th, 2009 at 11:16 | #2

    Great info, thanks Banyon.

    The post was mainly about the desire to sleep, the desire to turn off the lights, and stop the day. I like the night, I get the most done at night, and to turn off the lights…to make that decision…is difficult since my body is nocturnal. Which has nothing to do with apnea. Staying asleep is all about apnea. Wanting to read, to write, to watch films, that’s not apnea, that’s a body and mind not willing to forfeit the most creatively productive time of the day.

  3. Banyon
    March 12th, 2009 at 05:14 | #3

    The number one health problem in the U.S. -> DENIAL.

  4. Brian Utley
    March 12th, 2009 at 09:55 | #4

    I have no idea what that means.

  5. Banyon
    March 12th, 2009 at 10:26 | #5

    You said, “Also, I have sleep apnea. Major sleep apnea.”

    What are you going to do about it?

  6. Brian Utley
    March 12th, 2009 at 10:45 | #6

    I’m getting a new mask today.

    Saying the number one health problem in the US is denial is like saying the #1 cause of teenage deaths in the US is disobeying your parents. It doesn’t make sense.

  7. Banyon
    March 12th, 2009 at 16:28 | #7

    @Brian Utley

    A doctor told me this and it makes perfect sense to me.

    Three biggest health problems:
    #1 is denial
    #2 is obesity
    #3 is sleep apnea

    Denial: you still eat like you always did because you deny that you need to lose weight, deny that you can lose weight, deny that you can improve your blood lipids profile, deny that your blood-glucose level is growing progressively worse, deny that you need to get up and exercise now, deny that you need a sleep study, deny that you can be successful with CPAP therapy if you give it a good try, deny that a meal at Chili’s is deadly, deny that drinking 48 ounces of soft drinks per day is killing you, etc. …………..

  8. Brian
    March 12th, 2009 at 16:33 | #8

    Oh I see. Yea, I understand that but I’m 5’10”, 165 lbs, and 11% body fat so the denial comment didn’t make sense to me.

  9. Banyon
    March 13th, 2009 at 13:08 | #9

    I am 6′, 162 lbs., 60 years old and just did a six-mile hike in two hours yesterday which included 1150 ft. elevation change. And I could hardly get up the stairs at my house three years ago before I started CPAP therapy.

    If I skipped using my CPAP for one night or one short nap, I would consider myself in DENIAL of how deadly this condition is.

    BTW, why don’t you join cpaptalk.com (free) and get help with any CPAP issues you have. The patients there love to help people and they saved my life by teaching me how to make the therapy effective.

    Good luck.

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  11. Jess
    July 23rd, 2009 at 04:45 | #11

    Since my boyfriend finally broke through his denial about his own sleep apnea and now uses a CPAP, I no longer sleep in the living room on the couch. It’s nice to once again be able to fall asleep next to the one I love. Trust me – a sense of humor goes a long way when dealing with such things. The sound of air flowing at night is kind of like lulling white noise. Take care of yourself – and I hope you’re able to get a good night’s sleep very soon.

  12. October 4th, 2009 at 09:15 | #12
  13. October 4th, 2009 at 09:55 | #13

    Dating or Dating or Dating or

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