Monday, June 27, 2016

Sleep Deprivation

... is about the weirdest thing I've ever had.

I pulled the sleep apnea card in the game of Life about a year ago and since then I've been struggling with trying to get enough sleep. I've tried various remedies, but the one that works best for me is 12-hour Sudafed right before bed. If I take one of those, I'm golden. Unfortunately, Sudafed has side effects that I really don't like, so I avoid it as much as I can.

When I stay off the 'fed for any length of time, I find myself fuzzy-headed and disorganized during the day. That's not the weird part.

I get so muddled from sleep deprivation that I can't figure out why I'm muddled.

We recently remodeled our master bath and re-carpeted and repainted the adjoining rooms. It's the equivalent of moving out of half of your house and then moving back in. That was months ago and we still haven't fully moved back, thanks to yours truly being so disorganized. I would find myself at the end of a weekend, not having accomplished much of anything, having no plan for finishing off the project and wondering what had happened. It wasn't until this weekend that it dawned on me that these were side effects of sleep deprivation. Dig these effects of long-term sleep deprivation.
  • Decreased Performance and Alertness: Sleep deprivation induces significant reductions in performance and alertness. Reducing your nighttime sleep by as little as one and a half hours for just one night could result in a reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32%.
  • Memory and Cognitive Impairment: Decreased alertness and excessive daytime sleepiness impair your memory and your cognitive ability -- your ability to think and process information.
The bizarre thing to me is that the effects mask the source. If you can't think straight, it makes it pretty hard to find the cause.

Sometimes, it's been so bad that Philosoraptor has been able to stump me.


tim eisele said...

No kidding. I didn't realize how sleep-deprived I was, until I got my CPAP machine and suddenly wasn't anymore. Are you using a CPAP, or something else? It is really tempting to give up on a CPAP, it can take months to adapt fully to having that mask on your face, but in the long run it is definitely worth it.

K T Cat said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Tim! I'm using the CPAP as much as I can, but after about 90 minutes, it gets so uncomfortable that I have to pull it off. I'm still trying to go as long with it as I can. If I take Sudafed, I have no need for the machine, which makes the drug very attractive.

tim eisele said...

Yes, please keep at it with the CPAP. Either by trying a few different mask designs, or by just toughing it out with whatever you've got through sheer bloody-minded stubbornness. Eventually you will adapt, and even sleeping for a few hours with that thing on your face is better than nothing.

I worry about taking something like Sudafed to get enough sleep, because I don't think it actually stops the apnea episodes, it just keeps them from waking you up. Which might help the sleep deprivation, but doesn't do anything for the other effects of sleep apnea (like headaches, high blood pressure, brain damage due to oxygen deprivation, strokes, and heart failure). I can even see having a severe apnea episode that requires you to move around to open the airway, but the drug makes you sleep deeply enough that you don't wake up or move, and you end up suffocating.

K T Cat said...

Thanks for your concern, amigo. I'm touched.

Sudafed shrinks sinus swelling by shrinking blood vessels. This isn't a big deal if you don't have high blood pressure, which I don't. My apnea is strictly mechanical - tongue larger than average, throat smaller than average. I've not been tested under Sudafed, but it feels like the apnea episodes stop. My evidence is that I dream while using it, something I don't do with apnea as I never get into a deep sleep. I've got severe apnea, waking more than 60 times an hour untreated.

K T Cat said...

In any case, I don't like taking drugs under any circumstances, so I'll keep at it with the CPAP machine. Sadly, this has forced me to reduce my beer consumption as alcohol relaxes the airways, making the apnea a lot worse.

tim eisele said...

Oh, good. I was assuming that Sudafed was one of the drugs that has drowsiness as a side effect and that you were taking advantage of that effect, but after a quick check I see that I was thinking of the wrong drug.

I also have strictly mechanical apnea, but it's mostly because the roof of my mouth is deformed upward so much that my nasal passages are constricted. So I don't think the Sudafed would work the same way on me.

Jedi Master Ivyan said...

Sleep deprivation is no joke. After our third child was born, there were some days when it would look like the numbers on digital clocks were jumping up and down (doing the wave like a row of people at a stadium). That's one of the reasons I say three kids is enough. Good luck with finding the right mask for your CPAP.