Well Rested: What Do You Look Like When You Sleep?

Well Rested: What Do You Look Like When You Sleep?Picture yourself sleeping. Sleeping like a baby are you? A video recording of yourself during the wee small hours might surprise or even shock you!

 If you have ever tried to convince someone that they snore, you’ve probably met with some resistance.  Even when told by others that we snore, stop breathing or otherwise have disrupted sleep, deep down, we don’t believe them or feel they are exaggerating.  

 What is wrong with snoring? It could indicate a more troublesome and dangerous condition: Sleep Apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a very common sleep disorder. It is marked by snoring, pauses in breathing, gasping for air and daytime sleepiness. Other factors in OSA include morning headaches, a large neck, being overweight and high blood pressure. There are strong associations between untreated Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Disease. Those with untreated OSA are at greater risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, stroke and early death due cardiovascular problems as well as car accidents due to daytime sleepiness.

 Researchers have recently discovered that many of us have a mistaken impression of what goes on in our sleep. Lead Researcher, Mark Aloia and other scientists divided people with sleep apnea into 2 groups.  One group was shown a video of themselves when sleeping, the other was not. The results were very dramatic. The video group were shocked to see themselves snore, gasp, toss, turn and jolt awake out of their deep sleep. Some of the viewers became very emotional and weepy. They felt as if they were watching themselves being choked or drowning. This is exactly what sleep apnea looks like.

 The effect that the video had on the behavior of the group was dramatic as well. They started keeping their CPAP mask on three hours longer per night than those who had not watched a video of themselves. The scare of seeing the reality of their sleep encouraged them to stick to their treatment and lower their health risks.

 So if you are curious about what is happening in your sleep, prop up that video camera and hit record.  You may be surprised what you see!