Take My Breath Away…

, , , , , , | Healthy | May 31, 2018

(I’m in the early stages of dating my partner, and one night he falls asleep while we are watching television. It’s the first time he’s ever fallen asleep with me present and I almost immediately notice that he appears to stop breathing in his sleep for LONG periods at a time between heavy snores and gasps for air. It’s so long that it scares me, and I go to wake him up, but his own snort/gasp wakes himself up before I can.)

Me: “Did you know that you stop breathing in your sleep?”

Partner: “What are you talking about? I just snore really loudly is all.”

Me: “YES. It freaked me out.”

(He dismisses my concerns and we go back to watching television. Shortly after, he falls asleep again and I pull out my camera to record this time. It’s the weirdest and most horrifying thing to watch his back and neck muscles strain while he stops breathing for up to 45 seconds at a time — yes, I timed it. He wakes up again, and I’m prepared.)

Me: “You have to watch this. You need to go to the doctor to get this checked out. Of the three minutes I recorded, you didn’t breathe for 170 seconds!”

Partner: *after watching* “That’s probably not good.”

(Two months later, he has just finished doing the at-home sleep assessment which is required before the official sleep study at the hospital. Note that he has complained significantly about the test. He had to wear a device on his face and a band on his chest to check his breathing. They also put an “annoying pulse monitor” on the finger, so he complained that he had too many wires going to too many parts of his body for him to sleep at all during the test. Regardless, he meets with the doctor two days later to discuss the results.)

Partner: “Guess what they found out. I stop breathing in my sleep. We went through a lot of hassle to prove what we already know.”

Me: “Ha! You stop breathing while you sleep? I never would have guessed. I thought that the 30- to 45-second breaks in breath sounds were just your lungs taking a nap.”

Partner: “My record was 82 seconds. Champion!”

Me: “Woohoo! Winner! Some people can’t hold their breath that long when they are trying to.”

Partner: “I can do it in my sleep.”

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