David Trinko: Hard to put a number on good night’s sleep


By David Trinko - The Lima News



ONLY ON LIMAOHIO.COM

See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.

Apparently, I had a horrible night’s sleep Thursday night. I scored a 59.

Apparently, I had a great night’s sleep Monday night. I scored a 98.

Oddly enough, I’m not sure I really felt any different Friday than I did Tuesday. But the number said one was much better than the other, so I suppose I have to accept it as fact.

I recently came to grips with the fact I snore when I sleep. Apparently I snore really loudly, but I it can’t be that loud since it never woke me up, and my nose is so close to my ears. I digress, though.

At the urging of my wife (and 10 years of her persistence), I finally went to see a sleep specialist. I got to strap on what looked like a homemade bomb for a night to measure oxygen levels, how many times I stopped breathing and how many sheep jumped over the fence in my dream. (I may have made that last one up.)

According to the doctor, my wife is right: I do snore, and I snore badly. An apnea is when you stop breathing. Normal range is zero to five of those per hour of sleep. Mild sleep apnea is 5 to 15. Moderate sleep apnea is 15 to 30. Severe sleep apnea is more than 30 per hour.

Always the overachiever, I averaged 37 apneas per hour during my sleep study. It’s apparently not good for you to stop breathing that many times per hour. It’s apparently really not good to do that every minute and a half.

Before long, the doctor set me up with a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine. That means at night I get to do a cool Darth Vader impression as I strap a mask over my nose and mouth while pressurized air blows through a hose. Alas, my invitation to my wife to come over to the dark side has met great resistance. The force is strong with that one.

All modern appliances have to have an app nowadays. My CPAP machine is no different. I opened the app to see what kinds of numbers I had. I’ve exhausted myself after what seemed like a good night’s sleep, only to find that it rated poorly according to the app.

I don’t know how I ever knew if I was rested before I got my score, a composite of how many hours I used the machine, how often I adjusted my mask through the night, how many apneas I had and how many times I took the mask off (usually just to scratch my nose).

Since I started using the CPAP about a month ago, my number of “events” dropped considerably, into the normal range. It’s nice to finally be normal. Once the shock of seeing her husband look like a test pilot wore off, my wife started getting a better night’s sleep too since I wasn’t such a noisemaker. A few of the children also expressed gratitude the walls don’t rattle when dad snoozes anymore.

But what do all these numbers really tell us? I still rely on my wife to tell me when I’ve had a restful or restless night’s sleep.

For instance, on Thursday night, she said I woke up in the middle of the night, ripped the mask off my face and threw it to the ground in anger. I don’t recall doing that, but I do remember waking up around 4 a.m., confused why my mask wasn’t on my face anymore.

As for that supposedly good night’s sleep Monday night? She said she was sleeping, and so was I, so neither of us will ever know if that really was the perfect night’s rest.

Or maybe it’s just another number, thrown at us by a society that loves to quantify and rank everything. I’ll have to sleep on that idea and get back to you in the morning.

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By David Trinko

The Lima News

ONLY ON LIMAOHIO.COM

See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.

David Trinko is managing editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at dtrinko@limanews.com or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.

David Trinko is managing editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at dtrinko@limanews.com or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.

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