Awaken by Snores

By Danielle S.

In my family, my parents have the lifelong argument over who snores more. Every morning one of them jokes about the other keeping them awake all night. My mom tends to breathe loudly with a few snores sparingly throughout the night. My dad on the other hand, sounds like an eighteen wheeler coming down the highway. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a hotel room with both of them, and missing out on a full night of sleep. One of these instances came when I was around fourteen. My family and I were visiting my mom’s siblings in New York, and we stayed the night in a Quality Inn. My dad’s snoring woke me up in the middle of the night because it was so loud. I listened to him snore for a bit, then he just stopped.

I was confused, why did he stop snoring? Is this normal? I didn’t remember it happening other times I shared a room with my parents. I was seriously considering throwing a pillow at him to check if was alive, when abruptly the snoring kicked in. He seemed fine. His own snoring didn’t appear to wake him up and I fell back asleep shortly after confirming he was well.

I now realize that he may have a slight case of obstructive sleep apnea. When my dad sleeps he tends to have breaks in his snoring. It’s as though his breath gets stuck for a few seconds. My dad works the night shift so when he goes to bed it’s around two in the morning. He says he has no problems falling asleep and that he sleeps deeply. Even though he says this he is usually tired during the days. This is a side effect of obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is the most common reason for extreme daytime sleepiness. It can be cause for a variety of reasons, like being overweight, or having small naval passageways. It may be linked with alcoholism, smoking and high blood pressure.

At the time of this incident in the hotel room my father was slightly overweight. Since then he has lost weight which has helped his obstructive sleep apnea. He has less troubles breathing and gets a better sleep at night. There are other solutions to sleep apnea, like surgery and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP is a mask that pushes air into the naval passage continuously. This allows for easier breathing, which helps people with apnea to sleep better. Sleep apnea is a problem that affects millions of people, but thanks to CPAP, surgery and other methods the problem is starting to decrease. Which makes worried daughters feel so much better about their father’s health.

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