Breaking free from Tyken’s Rift

3 06 2011

File:Tyken's Rift.jpgTyken’s Rift was a space-time anomaly which was enountered by the Enterprise D in 2367.  The telepathic transmissions of an alien trapped in the rift caused the crew to lose the ability to achieve REM sleep which created mental instability and led to all sorts of bizarre behavior.  Previously another ship, the USS Brattain, had been trapped there and the sleep disturbances created mental mayhem so profound that the entire crew eventually murdered one another.  Fortunately, this is not going to happen to me.

I recently underwent a sleep study and was diagnosed with “moderate sleep apnea”.  Last night, I returned to the Center for Sleep Medicine to be fitted for a pressure mask and again test overnight to determine which amount of air pressure will force open my collapsing airways so that I can sleep healthfully once more.  Apparently, I’ve been having “micro-arousals” about every 3-4 minutes during the night when the soft tissue in my airway relaxed and cut off airflow.  My blood level of oxygen then dropped from the expected 97% or so down to a dangerous 75% before  a lifesaving mechanism in my brain reawakened me for a few seconds to restore the muscle tone necessary to allow air passage.  This is why I’ve been so tired for months, maybe years, and perhaps even why I’ve become an obsessive carb-craver in recent times.

Learning about this potentially lethal condition came as a result of my being an information geek.  Earlier this year, I constructed an athletic training log for myself in order to observe training patterns in hopes of achieving new goals, correcting mistakes and tracking aches/pains before they became true injuries.  At one point, I decided to include a daily entry for sleep statistics–length, perceived quality, morning energy level—to see where I could improve on that important component as well.

Then I came across an ad in a magazine for a machine called a Zeo—a sort of alarm clock with a headband.  The headband contains sensors which measure brain waves, score the quality of sleep on a scale of 1-100 and download all the information to the computer.  It turned out my sleep score (a proprietary measure constructed by the Zeo manufacturer) was well below expectations for a person of my age.  Even worse, the ratio of deep to light sleep to REM and wakefulness was ridiculous.  Crazier still was the fact that the readouts were telling me I was awake up to 4 hours a night.  I’ll admit to being too often annoyed by what I call a “menopause night” where I awaken every hour or two, glance at the clock, maybe go to the bathroom and then go right back to sleep.  But spending a total of 240 minutes awake?  No way.  Not unless I’m getting beamed aboard a spaceship and having my memory wiped upon return.  Or so I thought.

I mean, I know I snore.  I’ve done so for years.  My mother did.  My husband does.  So does my son.  I know snoring can be associated with apnea.  But I didn’t know I had “that kind of snoring.”  Well, I guess I do.

Last night’s “CPAP titration study” will allow prescription of the most comfortable type of mask and the proper pressure settings.  And when the equipment arrives in 7-10 days, I will begin sleeping like a person is supposed to sleep again.  It will be nice to feel rested in the morning.  It will be great to see how my athletic performance improves.  I will be ass-over-teakettle to see some of the extra weight drop off with perhaps less than the usual Herculean effort.  But most of all, it will be superb to live a healthy life for more years than I might have done otherwise.  “Live long and prosper” is a postulate which only applies if you actually live long.

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TRAINING THE FEW DAYS:

Sunday — rest day

Monday — personal trainer session; upper body and core

Tuesday — went to the gym:  treadmill, bike, elliptical for a total of 75 minutes

Wednesday — rode bike outdoors for an hour

Thursday — rest day

DIET IN THE PAST FEW DAYS:

Other than one stellar day, it pretty much sucked again.


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