Sleep apnoea

Sleep apnoea

Do you, or does your significant other, snore, sleep badly, wake up with a start or stop breathing in your sleep? Here’s John’s story.


I had been sleeping badly for a while, and I’d snored for years (allegedly). I happened to be at the National Heart and Lung Hospital, the Royal Brompton in London, talking to an asthma specialist, and he asked me how I was. I said I’d be OK if only I could sleep. I was waking at least once a night, sweating, heart pounding and gasping for breath. I thought I was having night-time panic attacks – I HAD to get up and do something for an hour or so until I calmed down enough to go back to bed. “Aha” said the good doctor. “We’ll get you in for sleep apnoea testing”.


So it was that on the evening of 1 May 1997 I reported to the sleep lab at the Royal Brompton. After dinner there was one last chance to use the bathroom, then I was wired up – heart monitor, oxygen levels, sound and video, I had it all! And it was an incredibly hot night, too.


Next morning at 06:00 the sleep support technician unwired me and read the print outs. “You died over 600 times last night”. I’d had over 600 episodes – stopped breathing – in eight hours. “We don’t want you to go home without a CPAP system”.

cpap mask

Sleepweavers are the most comfortable masks I’ve found

And so it was I got my first CPAP system. I slept uninterrupted and snore free that night, and ever since.

Taking my CPAP system with me whenever I travel is a small price to pay!

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