Does you snoring cause mood swings?

Do you snore?

I’m not being idly curious. It’s an important question.

If you don’t have a bedmate or roommate to tell you, try recording yourself. Just download a recording app for your smartphone, turn it on when you go to bed and let it run until your batteries run down or the program runs out of space. Then, when you’re doing something in one place, put on some headphones and press “play”. Listen until you either hear snoring or gasping or run out of recording.

If you do snore or gasp, I have some important information for you. You may suffer from sleep apnea. If you do, the use of a corrective device (called a C-PAP) will help you to require less sleep, to wake up feeling more refreshed, to feel more awake all day long and to avoid frequent bouts of depression. I speak from experience.

My doctor developed a mild suspicion when I insisted that I require 10+ hours of sleep each and every night and my husband confirmed that I snore. What the easy at-home sleep test confirmed was that I have an average of over 60 “apneas” per hour.

An apnea is a breath you don’t take: a moment when you gasp. If they happen when you’re dozing off, they may wake you up with a feeling of suffocation. I never noticed them until I was made aware of them. I was having one every minute or more.

When you have apneas, they disrupt your rest, requiring you to sleep more and increasing tiredness the next day. In fact, I had such tiredness that it took about two months on the C-PAP before my required amount of sleep regularly dropped to 7-8 hours per night. I got back 2-3 hours per day of awake life!

The C-PAP (stands for continuous positive airway pressure) is a small machine (you can set it on your nightstand or the floor beside your bed) that plugs in and has a hose coming from it that connects to a face mask or “nasal pillow” and that pushes air into your airway, effectively preventing you from missing a breath.

It is a life changer. The use of the C-PAP has almost exactly corresponded to the final end of my 4-year depressive episode. Your primary care physician should be able to arrange a home sleep test for you, read the results and set you up with a respiratory therapist to fit your mask (which will have a disposable, replaceable component) and provide you with a C-PAP machine covered by your insurance company (typically, you rent it for a time and then own it).

One last tip: if you use any harsh facial treatments such as Retin-A, do not put them off in the minutes before you put on your mask. If you do, they may cling to your mask and “treat” the area of your face that your mask touches all night long, giving you a bizzare over-treated, peeling mask-shaped area on your face. I know.

Do you suspect or know you have sleep apnea already? Did this article make you suspicious enough to talk to your doctor? Please share your experience in the comments!