I've been working at trying to get healthy for the last two years through various health regimes here at Cure Zone. I've seen improvements through my ongoing "favorite fabulous five" (Iodine supplementation w/companion nutrients, Essiac Tea, Colloidal Silver , Beck blood electrification, and oil pulling), and Humaworm (only do this one as needed). But I've been puzzled that my fatigue hasn't gotten better, except for a few sporadic days. I figure after all this time, I should have knocked out most of the bad pathogens or toxins, so why am I still fatigued?
Until recently, I can tell you I've only felt awake less than 5 days out of a year. I have posted before in other forums about a sleep disorder I have [ideopathic hypersomnia and upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS)]. I arouse from sleep 39 times in an hour with no apneas according to the last sleep study, which was done about 4 years ago, so I could have gotten worse without knowing. And because of that I get no level 3 or 4 sleep—nada, zilch, zero. The sleep problems never responded to conventional sleep medications, changes to sleep environment, or the CPAP. I even went through counseling and some professional hypnotherapy, just in case it was psychological even though I was sure it wasn't.
The past few weeks, I've noticed off and on I've had some days I've been awake and alert. My husband has been out of town a lot for training for work, so I wondered what about his absence was helping my sleep. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE him! I was absolutely positive it wasn't BECAUSE he was gone, so I started analyzing what was different about my sleep when he was away.
Noise levels and light were the same. The main difference for when he was away was that with him gone I could readjust the pillow situation whatever way I needed, deal with any aches and pains, lie in any position I wanted. So I decided to revisit my problem with UARS.
I don't snore, and back in 2005 I did see an ENT to see if they could physically see any blockage in my airways. He didn't see anything, but I also wondered if maybe he didn't know what to look for besides a big tongue, big tonsils, or swollen airways. I got on the internet and again started doing more research and decided my UARS was probably caused by my jaw dropping back too far when I sleep, which causes the tongue to drop back and block the airways.
I don't really have a fat tongue, but I do have a narrower lower jaw. I decided to test by laying back in bed in various positions and feel what my airways are doing. I consciously relaxed my throat, mouth and jaw to where it probably would when I slept. I definitely felt my airways narrowing, and depending on my sleep position, like on my back, my jaw drops back 1/2 to 1 inch. To further experiment, that night I consciously analyzed the position I had my head and neck, choosing a position I felt had my airways fully open when relaxed. Any time I woke up to shift positions, I again repositioned to allow for open airways. Most of the time, the position was up and back, with me sleeping on my side or back, and many times with my jaw locked in place by the weight of my head on the pillow or arm or a floppy stuffed animal stuffed into gaps to add support (for the morbidly curious, it was large, floppy Eeyore or a 12-inch floppy penguin).
The result of that experiment was a solid block of 6 hours sleep, no restroom runs (I normally go at least 6 times a night), and felt totally refreshed and alert when I got up. It was the first time in YEARS I felt human, and even literally thought, "I feel like I can run a marathon!"
I decided I would try one of those mandibular advancement devices (MAD), to try to pull my jaw forward when I sleep and keep the airways open so that I don't have to think about position all the time while trying to sleep, and avoid the sometimes uncomfortable and awkward positions that I needed. I didn't want to fork out the big bucks for a custom made device by a dentist unless I knew it would work, so I researched over-the-counter MADs.
When researching MADs, I came across a support site for sleep disorders where a book was mentioned that was highly recommended. It was a book put out by Dr. Steven Y. Park, an ENT who has theories on the physiology for breathing related sleep disorders. I went to his site, http://www.doctorstevenpark.com,
where I ordered the book, "Sleep, Interrupted", available on his site and Amazon.com. While there I saw he had one of those "Ask a Doc" sort of forums, so I decided to ask him if there was an over-the-counter MAD I could try before committing to the expense of a custom one.
I was pleasantly shocked that he personally responded to me in e-mail that very same day! Most doctors out there won't suggest anything to a patient they haven't seen, nor will they take the time to personally respond to someone, patient or not, through e-mail. So I was very touched that he took the time to respond to me. He suggested two that he tends to recommend to his patients for test runs, so I went and researched the two he suggested, decided on the SomnoGuard AP. I'm still eagerly awaiting it's delivery (it's coming from Canada), and should arrive at the latest the end of next week, so I can't tell you how it works just yet.
What I can tell you, I've continued my experimentation on head/neck positioning over the last few nights, and because of it I've had 3 days in a row now that I feel fully rested, energetic and alert—human again!
And oddly I've dropped 10 pounds in weight over the 3 days, without doing a thing. My weight has been so stubborn, that I never could lose any even if I cut calories or exercised. I'm now sure my sleep disorder has had my body in "fight or flight" mode, which has had my body refusing to let go of the weight. And it's been easier to recognize when I'm hungry and not, and easier to be satisfied with less food, and not really feeling hungry at all.
Dr. Park's book arrived yesterday, so I read it last night after getting off work. I think he's dead on about the circular cycle of cause and effect with the breathing disorders. It explains the reflux I've had problems with sporadically the last several years, the choking feeling and "something stuck in the throat" feeling I sometimes get (reflux he thinks)—acid reflux makes UARS and apnea, and sinus and ear problems worse, and vice a versa. I do highly recommend reading his book. It's the best I've read that addresses UARS.
It's funny, but I think my body has been telling me for years what the problem was. I've had nightmares over the years about when I had braces as a teen and had to use rubber bands on hooks on the braces to adjust my bite. When I think back to when I got the braces off, that was when I was so horribly tired I skipped school two weeks just to sleep. When I went back to school and I was called to the vice-principal's office to discuss my playing hooky, I think he was perplexed at my answer, that I was skipping because I was tired. The braces would have kept my jaw forward (though the pain from the metal gouging my cheeks and gums was enough to keep me awake), but when they were gone there was nothing to prevent the jaw from falling back again. And I clearly remember at how my jaw resisted the rubber bands.
My sleep problems got worse over the years, though I never realized it just wasn't normal until I was around age 30 and a doctor suggested I get a sleep study.
The problem with UARS, even today a lot of sleep doctors don't get it diagnosed. It is really hard to diagnose, unlike apnea. And CPAP doesn't always help, like me.
So, I wrote this to all of you who HAVE addressed health issues by faithfully following healthier living and have done some of the awesome things like Iodine supplementation, but are STILL fatigued or tired. Please consider that perhaps you may have a breathing related sleep disorder. If there's any possibility of you having apnea, you really need a sleep study, because you are suffocating in your sleep, which does all sorts of damage to your organs and general health. If you don't snore and aren't terribly overweight, like me, consider you may have UARS. If you just can't manage a sleep study now, do consider trying one of those "stop snoring" dental devices (not for severe apnea, but can help a lot with mild to moderate apnea or UARS). You spend hundreds of dollars on various devices and supplements—the cost of a MAD is well worth it and in budget if you do have a breathing disorder. It's a physiological flaw, so supplements and medications aren't going to fix it.
I am really curious to see once my MAD arrives how my body responds to getting GOOD quality sleep finally on top of continuing with my "fabulous five" health regime! I'm expecting to be feeling wonderful and on top of the world. Maybe I'll start planning to take over the world—I sure feel like I can after the first 3 days straight of good sleep that I've had in 30 years!
Bless you all, and I sure hope this helps someone else who may have been struggling the way I have!