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NHS Choices Condition

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Terry Gasking was diagnosed with sleep apnoea after a couple of terrifying incidents during which he feel asleep at the wheel. He tells us how he got through it.

"I was driving along the A418 and I suddenly woke up and found myself going down the wrong side of the road. I must have fallen asleep at the wheel, even though I didn't feel particularly tired. Thankfully nothing was coming the other way, or I wouldn't be here today.

"The second time was particularly frightening. I was driving past a village school and remember being fully alert, watching the children to make sure they didn't step into the road. The next moment, I was gone: I'd fallen asleep, completely unaware. I woke up 50 yards away, about four feet from a brick wall. I could have killed a child.

"The worst thing about snoring and sleep apnoea is that you've no idea it's happening to you. You think you're sleeping for hours, but you're not – you're only sleeping for very short spells. In my case, I was diagnosed as a moderate sufferer; I stopped breathing 28 times an hour. This means my average sleep period was just two minutes.

"When you think sleep deprivation is a form of torture, you realise sleep apnoea sufferers experience torture every night, because they're not getting enough sleep.

"I tried every simple 'remedy' I could lay my hands on – nose clips, things to put up your nose – and nothing worked. Then I tried CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). The sleep deprivation that I'd suffered for 30 years went overnight. Suddenly, I was given the energy I had 20 years ago."

view information about Snoring on www.nhs.co.uk »

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