By Stefan M,
Sleep: peace, tranquility, and the imperative recharge that our body systems need in the night. Sleep fuels the day and is the universal, domineering pause vital for our performance in all other aspects of our lives. Sleep must be perfected, and since the beginning of man that treasure is sought after in the darkening of every day; beds evolving from sticks and leaves to springs and padding to form-fitting foams regulated by remote controls, pills and hormones to induce and perpetuate sleep through the night, and now humanity is breaking the frontier in facing a new, allusive enemy: Sleep apnea.
The first sign of the nighttime antagonist, sleep apnea, is the conventional snore. While Judy Blume, with a glass-half-full attitude, finds snoring no less than positive, “Snoring keeps the monsters away.” Snoring is most accurately depicted by Bailey White and G. A. Aiken, sounding like a “bull in rutting season” and more intensely illustrated, “Her blood-curdling snoring, with its gargling and squawking and its terrifying pauses is like the sound the devil might make if he were alternately relishing and strangling on a pound of human flesh.” While a roommate or bed partner might not compare to the devil eating flesh (or they might), snoring is nothing to ignore in the battle for restful sleep against sleep apnea. And much like any devious villain, sleep apnea has three paths to slumber disruption: central, obstructive, and a conniving blend called complex sleep apnea. Humanity, and her effort against all things preventing sleep, have been pitted against the age old dangerous enemy in this era of improvement and better living.
The treachery of the disorder proves much more vile than snoring. Sleep apnea is an assassin in the night, sent not to kill but punish the undeserving; fingers wrapped around the throat of its victims, it flees just as swiftly as it arrives with a rasping gasp and widening eyes of its dupe. The assassin is unyielding and grasps the throat one to one hundred times in the night, leaving the victim gasping more than breathing and afraid to close their eyes. The assassin resides in two places: the muscles of the victim’s windpipe, and/or within the brains control center for sleep. Once the enemy has taken control in the night the quality of life plummets, and the demand for a combatant, a gladiator to challenge this beast, is growing every day.
The gladiator to contest the ominous sleep apnea comes not with fiery chariots but resembling a robot. A mechanical armor, tubes and straps alike, fashioned for the face and taking direct control over what the devious assassin has been manipulating. Tenacious attacks throughout the night can only be contested by an equally continuous defense, and the liberating face armor delivers just that: a continuous flow of positive air pressure to keep the muscles from obstructing the airway. A humble hero, saving lives and providing sleep, the greatest gift, all with a soft hum of reassurance so that we may rest easy.