Meet Fiona Bond – from Belrose in New South Wales – whose sleep apnea was so desperately severe that her symptoms, like extremely loud snoring, forced people to sleep outside. She was also afraid to drive for fear of falling asleep behind the wheel. Yep, you can file this one under not so subtle signs that you have obstructive sleep apnea. Fiona would also wake up in the morning and want to go right back to sleep ten minutes later – she was also having issues concentrating and her memory was shot too. According to Fiona, sleep apnea was “ruining” her life.
Fiona suffered like this for a year – according to her it was a year, but she was probably suffering for much longer and had no idea – until a trip to Italy inspired her to get help. Of course, people had tried to warn her before, but she wasn’t having any of it. Even her concerned daughter tried to bring her mother’s sleep disorder to light by recording her loud snoring. Fiona laughed it off. But when Fiona woke up at four in the morning in the barn she was staying in – on a farm in Italy – and realized that everyone had chosen to sleep outside versus spend another minute tolerating her snoring, she decided to do something about her condition.
When it comes down to it, Fiona is certainly not alone – in her native suburb Down Under or in the rest of the world. In her native Australia, however, Fiona is among the 77% of Aussie women that are reported to be sleep deprived and at extreme risk for a variety of health disorders as a result. This is according to a report by Dr. Carmel Harrington – author of The Complete Guide To A Good Night’s Sleep – who also found that one in two women between the ages of 20 and 70 are living with sleep apnea, which often goes undiagnosed.
But that’s not all that Dr. Carmel found in her research. She also found that women were getting more headaches in the morning than men – about twice as many. She also found some hints to reasons why a lot of women don’t get tested: it’s just not ladylike to talk about your sleeping habits with your doctors, or anyone for that matter. In fact, about one in eight women denied snoring and 15% of women were just too embarrassed to do anything about it. Already, women need about 20 to 30 minutes more sleep than men, but if you aren’t getting sleep for long periods of time, the deprivation will certainly take its toll.
Indeed, obstructive sleep apnea took its toll on Fiona. She was on the edge of a precipice. In her sleep study, the results were shocking: she was suffering from apneatic events – or pauses in breathing – every two minutes while she slept. After her test, she started undergoing CPAP treatment, and within a few days she started “bouncing out of bed” again. Basically, she got her life back – like many people do after starting CPAP therapy. So, for all those women out there that think it’s not very ladylike to own up to your snoring, just use Fiona as example of how a little bravery can change your life. At the end of the day, if your snoring is so bad that it clears a barn, it is definitely time to get help.