February 19, 2014

My latest obsession

I have spent most of my adult life waking up each morning and never quite feeling refreshed. It never seemed to be a problem until I hit my fifties. Then I decided to look into and this is what I found out..

I was a lousy sleeper which has left me obsessed with sleep!

Most normal people have five sleep cycles per night; each cycle usually lasts approx. ninety minutes.  If you wake up in the middle of a cycle, your brain has to go back to the beginning and starts the entire sleep cycle all over again.  The fewer interruptions to your sleep cycle the better your sleep quality. Makes sense, that if the sleep cycles finish that is good and a cycle is interrupted that is....not so good.
The importance here is the sleep "quality" and how efficiently you sleep and less about the” quantity” or the time you spend in bed; sleep doctors call this sleep efficiency.
When I went for my sleep tests they recorded a shift from deep to light non–rem sleep or from sleep to wakefulness some 200 times a night ( they are called arousals) most of these were breathing related episodes due to my sleep apnea. This put my sleep efficiency at  50%. 
Pretty bad!  
Any number above 85% and you can consider yourself a good sleeper!

I went on C-Pap and my nightly arousals went from 200 down to 4 and although I may wake up two times per night I am sleeping deeply when I am asleep!

 A good thing!

Here’s a neat way to calculate your sleep efficiency without having a sleep test which btw borders on torture and costs a fortune.

It will give you a general idea of how well you sleep by giving you the example of my numbers from the other night. 

Sleep Efficiency Calculator

Total Sleep Time = minutes  (630)
Minus time to fall asleep =  minutes  630-20=610

Total # 1 : minutes  610

Subtract = minutes awake during night
(1 toilet,20 mins., 2nd wake up 30 mins) = 50 mins. :

Total #2 minutes 560

Divide Total #1 (630)  into #2 (560) and you will arrive at your Sleep Efficiency.=  89%

This was a really good night for me and although I love my mask I do upon occasion struggle with wearing it but have been able to push thru any resistance.
It's a love hate relationship. 

How's your sleep life?


  1. I'm not a great sleeper. It takes me a while to fall asleep, and I'm sure I wake up several times a night. I don't think I could calculate this myself. I'd be awake thinking about what numbers to write down! :)

    1. I think I was a good sleeper when I was young, before kids.....
      Funny how things change as we age.

  2. WOW! Jen, what a difference you must be feeling as far as energy when you wake up.
    I generally have a good sleep with only one bathroom run in the middle of the night.
    Lucky you for having found a 'cure'.

    1. Oh boy does it help, Jim!
      Two months and I'm just starting to feel my metabolism starting to rev up after being asleep for ages and ages...
      Now I'm waiting for a bit of weight loss too!!

  3. Glad your sleep life is better, dear!!

    I don't think I've slept thru the night since Kay...


  4. I'm glad to hear the CPAP works well for you! My sleep is doomed. I have a special needs dog that needs to be let out to potty every 3-4 hours. So, my sleep is broken each night. It's OK. I love her!! I just feel like a mom to an infant! :) ~Angela

    1. Poor baby dog she's so glad to have such a good mommy to take care of her!

  5. I used to be a awesome sleeper and I still do well but am noticing the older I get, the less rest I achieve after a nights sleep. I seem to go in spurts - 2 weeks awesome deep sleeps, a week or tossing and turning. My husband wears a c-pap. He calls it his "Jacque Cousteau" mask. I just call him, Darth Vader! :-)

    1. That's sort of how I felt and decided to see if it was medical or just over fifty stuff. Did I mention I love sleep? Seriously I do!
      I have a teeny tiny mask that just fits over my nose and my machine is virtually noiseless, so I'm pretty lucky.
      It's the headgear that is "not at all attractive" sort of fighter pilot-ish...

  6. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm not a good sleeper. I used to be until about eight years ago. I always have to start on my stomach, and then I shift to either side. I can't fall asleep on my back. When I started having problems, I tried to do a sleep study, but I couldn't fall asleep on my back with everything attached to me. Thus, I never got any results.

    I have anxiety. I don't drink any caffeine or alcohol, or else it hinders me at night. A good night is 4-5 hours of sleep, waking up, and falling back asleep for another 1-2 hours. Usually, if something's bothering me, I can the first 4 hours, but I have a hard time falling back asleep. Other times I can't fall asleep at all without meds. I try not to think about it too much, or else it becomes a problem.

    Then there's noise. I can't sleep with it. At all. No A/C, no traffic on the highway. Sometimes I can fall asleep with ear plugs, but they are usually uncomfortable and I just awaken after 2 hours from a crazy dream. My wife worries about me in the summer without the air or the windows open (Southern State Pkwy is directly across the street). She can't sleep like that and I don't blame her. It's been an issue for us and I don't have an adequate solution, other than moving to a place with central air. That's not happening though.

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  8. I NEVER get a good night's sleep, I keep getting told it's hormonal. I've been worn out since I had kids. SO glad you found a solution! I've not stopped by in awhile...missed sharing your life. I'll try to catch up! Love you!

  9. That's too complicated for me to work out Jen,lol. I'm glad you're getting a better sleep but it must be horrible wearing a mask. I'm a terrible sleeper. I cough a lot which means I have a dry mouth so I need water and then I have to pee. If I don't cough I lie thinking, wow I haven't coughed and then I start coughing. I have to sleep on high pillows which then hurt my hips and......need I go on...

  10. Hi Jen - I gather the CPAP machines do help .. but I'm not the world's best sleeper til around 6.00 am - 8.00 am - when I could happily fall asleep for many hours in completely comfort!

    Great you've worked out what helps though .. cheers Hilary

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  12. This is a must-read article! Good quality of sleep is not limited to how long you were able to sleep. It’s a good thing you discover this. At least now you know that you have a sleep apnea problem. You just have to find out more information about this and what remedy needed to solve this.


  13. Wow! I hope my sleep patterns never change. I'd be miserable because I sleep like a log. As soon as my head hits the pillow...Bam! Down for the count! I hear as you get older your sleep patterns start changing. My husband is the total opposite. He can't sleep past 4:30am! Drives me nuts! I have to listen to him shuffle around getting his slippers & sweats before going downstairs to watch Law & Order.


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