Jamesha Edwards, 32, was no stranger to sleepless nights. Her husband, Lionel, 40, saw to that with his snoring. "The snoring was so loud," she explains. "And really scary. He was [often] gasping and fighting in his sleep because he was trying to get air." Edwards, a sales representative who lives in Pottstown, Pa., alternated between sitting awake worrying about her husband's health and being forced out of their bedroom in search of peace and quiet.
Hers is a familiar story. A National Sleep Foundation...
If you've already tried things like allowing enough time for sleep and making your bedroom a good place for rest, your doctor may suggest you go to a sleep lab for more tests. This may take a night or two.
At the sleep lab, you'll be hooked up to monitors that will track your heart, brain, movements, and breathing patterns as you sleep. A sleep specialist will review the results and tell you what they mean.
Your treatment will depend on what type of sleep problem you're having.
When you have sleep apnea, you briefly stop breathing several times a night. Losing extra weight may make it better. Also, avoid alcohol and sleeping pills.
Ask your doctor if you need a CPAP machine. (CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure.) With CPAP, you wear a mask while you sleep, and it raises the air pressure inside your throat. This keeps your airway more open, so you can sleep better. You'll need to go to a sleep lab to get a CPAP prescription and follow-up. Other PAP machines include the BiPAP for two levels of air pressure and the VPAP, which has varying levels of air pressure.