By Jen Gourley
Are you really tired? Do you snore? Is it a struggle just to get through the day without having a nap? Then you may have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea occurs when we stop breathing in our sleep, usually for 10 seconds or more. It can cause snoring or choking in our sleep, and when the airway becomes blocked, it deprives our body of oxygen. Our brain realises we’re not breathing and wakes us up to take a breath. We fall back to sleep again, then stop breathing, and the cycle continues all through the night, leaving us feeling exhausted the next day.
It all sounds a bit scary but there is help available and it’s closer than you think.
CPAP Direct has opened its doors in Biloela and Jenny is here to help save your sleep.
But how do you know if you have sleep apnea and need to use a CPAP machine?
This is where a sleep study comes in. At CPAP Direct, Jenny can help set you up for a sleep study and then you sleep in the comfort of your own bed.
“The sleep study shows us what your airway is doing during sleep,” Jenny says. “It shows us how many times you stop breathing in the night, and it shows us the different types of sleep you have. So, you need a certain amount of REM sleep, which is Rapid Eye Movement sleep – that’s when your brain is cleaning itself. You also need a certain amount of deep sleep or slow wave sleep, and that’s while your heart and organs are resting. If you stop breathing when you’re sleeping, it disrupts REM sleep and the deep sleep and makes your heart and other organs work very hard. Sleep apnea can push you towards heart failure, cardiac arrest, strokes, diabetes, and high blood pressure.”
What are the indicators of sleep apnea?
“Snoring is one of the main indicators or you might wake up coughing and choking and feel like you’ve swallowed some saliva the wrong way. But, really, it’s your throat that’s closed,” Jenny says. “You might just feel tired every afternoon. All you can think about is lying down and closing your eyes at one o’clock in the afternoon. That might be your only symptom. You might have trouble driving, you get a bit sleepy driving. You might have thyroid problems. You might have put on weight just lately and you don’t know why. You only need to put on one or two kilograms, and it can make a huge difference to your throat.”
What is CPAP and how can it help those with sleep apnea?
“CPAP stands for continuous positive air pressure,” Jenny explains. “What we do is use pressurised normal air to keep the airway open and stop it from collapsing while you’re sleeping. The machine is very quiet and it knows when you’re asleep. It knows when your airway is starting to close off, and it will adjust the pressure accordingly. And then it knows when your airway opens up again, and lowers the pressure again and it records everything it does. We compare the results of your sleep test to the results of the CPAP machine. And the main question we ask you is ‘how are you feeling?’ And 99 times out of 100, it’s better, much better. So that’s CPAP.”
Help with all stages of your CPAP journey
Jenny has been working with sleep for almost a decade and has worked in the Biloela area for four years. She has a good working relationship with the local medical centres in Biloela, Theodore, Moura, Baralaba and Monto. Jenny has a warm and friendly manner, instantly putting clients at ease, with a genuine desire to help people sleep better and therefore feel better.
“I’m very passionate about people sleeping well and making the most out of their lives – with relationships and being safe at work and safe on the road. It distresses me when I hear someone say they had a car accident because they went to sleep at the wheel. It’s so dangerous, not just for them but also for anyone else in the car and people on the road beside them.”
Whether it’s a sleep study or setting you up with a CPAP machine for the first time, or checking on your progress, Jenny wants people to know they can come and see her for anything to do with CPAP. Some people have got old machines or masks shoved away in cupboards because they just weren’t working for them, but they are still feeling very tired. “I’m really wanting to do the journey with them,” Jenny says. “Wherever they are in the journey, starting or having trouble continuing. My little motto is ‘we love to do the journey with you’. And it is a journey that keeps on going.”
If you would like to start your journey to better sleep, you can either see your GP for a referral or you can go into the CPAP Direct store in Callide Street, Biloela and see Jenny and she can help you with a referral to take to your GP. She’s happy to answer any of your questions and if you live out of town, she’s just a phone call away.
The CPAP Direct Biloela store stocks all the top brands of CPAP equipment and spare parts. It is an online store, with affordable prices, and most people are supported by Medicare for sleep testing.
If it is confirmed that you have sleep apnea after doing a sleep study, this is where the next stage of your journey begins. Jenny will find the right CPAP machine and mask to trial.
“The CPAP trial is for 30 days. We find the right mask, we find the right pressures to suit them. We do downloads and compare them to the sleep report so we can see the improvement. The first month of hire is refunded off the purchase price of the equipment, so, basically, clients get a trial for 30 days for free.
“With lots of care,” adds Jenny, with a smile.
If you would like to start your journey to a better night’s sleep and a healthier life, you can call in and see Jenny at CPAP Direct at Shop 1, 50 Callide Street, Biloela (between Dave’s Disposals and Ray White Biloela), or you can call her on (07) 4962 0242 or 0418 688 049. CPAP Direct will also have a stall at the Callide Valley Show on May 13-14 so you are welcome to stop by for a chat with Jenny.
If you would like to know more about sleep apnea or see what equipment is available, check out www.cpap.com.au