In the last three decades, the importance of sleep has been gaining public awareness. It has always been well accepted that if you don’t sleep well, you won’t function as well the next day. But it’s a relatively new phenomenon that there is a minimum amount of sleep you should have each night (different for each person, but seven hours is the standard). Researchers have been saying for years that sleep isn’t just about the next day, but your entire life. As the general population has realized the truth of this, more resources have gone into learning more, broadcasting information, and finding solutions to help people get the rest they need.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has done extensive work to provide information for commercial drivers who have sleep apnea. You can, and probably should start with the resources they've compiled.
Today, the field of sleep medicine is exploding with findings on the impact of sleep on neurological, cardiovascular, and even social health. Health providers around the world are focusing on their patients’ sleep habits as being just as important as the vitals they check with every routine checkup. Most headlines outline the negative consequences of missed sleep, irregular schedules, REM time… etcetera. Even the positive articles focused on the benefits of sleep rarely answer the question most people have: Why do I feel so tired all the time?
The short answer to that question is easy. Statistics show that a third of adults don’t get enough sleep. More than half of that number is directly caused by sleep disorders. Basically, if you’re not sleeping well, you probably have a sleep disorder or some variable in your life (work, stress, environment, etc.) that keeps you from sleeping. No one can change the variables in your life except for you. But there are people, resources, and products that can help if you have a sleep disorder.
There are more than 80 known sleep disorders. A sleep disorder is simply defined as any condition that disturbs your normal sleep patterns. The vast majority of people with sleep disorders suffer from either insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Circadiance focuses on the latter of the two. OSA is a drop in oxygen when breathing stops which puts a strain on the heart. It is typically caused by a blockage of the upper airway due to anatomical reasons: too large a tongue, extra tissue in the back of the throat, or a decreased muscle tone. The lack of oxygen and continued lack of treatment can lead to a number of serious co-morbidities including cardiac events such as a stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, obesity, vascular dementia, diabetes, depression, memory loss, and many more. The sleep deficit caused by OSA also leads to many other well-documented consequences not unique to any one sleep disorder. Around 100 million people suffer from OSA.
If you aren’t sleeping well, meet with your doctor. Get a sleep study. After diagnosis, stick to your prescribed treatment. You won’t regret it! If you’re diagnosed with OSA, you will likely be prescribed CPAP therapy as your primary solution. CPAP or BiPAP therapy is the gold standard for treating patients with OSA. Entering the CPAP therapy market of products can be daunting for first-time patients. There are many factors that determine if you will have success and nearly every product claims to solve one issue or another. Are you claustrophobic? A side sleeper? Sensitive skin? The list goes on and on.
We (should) spend a third of our lives sleeping. Compare this shopping experience to how you make decisions about car safety, shoe comfort, or diet. The product you sleep with is important to your health and should be considered carefully. If you find the right one, you’ll be more likely to stick with your therapy, too. Just like you probably put a seatbelt on every time you drive, you should wear your CPAP mask every time you sleep.
Circadiance creates SleepWeaver CPAP masks to help OSA patients get the sleep they need in a mask they actually like. If you’re tired all the time and find out you have OSA, give one of our masks a try. You might just have a better night’s sleep, but we think it’ll change your life.