Threads for kevmoo

  1. 37

    Taking my sleep seriously, and pursuing a sleep apnea diagnosis.

    I went from being so constantly fatigued to to the point where I could fall asleep while driving, to feeling… well, normal I guess.

    Sleep has such a drastic effect on one’s executive function that almost every other aspect of my life has improved because of it.

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      In that regard, being more careful with caffeine. Cutting my coffee with decaf in the afternoon or foregoing it entirely. On the days where I only have coffee once I am a little shocked at how tired I get by the afternoon.

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        Yup, similar experience here! My dentist told me I have sleep apnea 3 years ago, which resulted in a deep journey into the topic of breathing, and a big improvement in my life. Even though I wasn’t sleepy! Most people don’t realize that tooth grinding and damage is often a sign of bad breathing at night. Also, many people are mouth breathers and unaware of it, and it is a sign of poor breathing and sleep apnea.

        A funny thing is that all these sleep, breathing, and teeth issues have been popping up on Hacker News over the last year or so. I’m not sure if there is a correlation between them and programming, or just general awareness, because a bunch of popular books have come out about sleep lately. Could be that the readership is aging :)

        Here’s a comment I wrote in response to one of these stories:

        https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25016745

        Here’s a surprising claim that has scientific concensus: Basically ALL humans have problems breathing. That is, apes and other mammals don’t have these problems.

        The two main reasons are the anatomical changes due to the evolution of speech, and the advent of agriculture, which completely changed our diets and thus the structure of our jaw.

        The agriculture bit hit us twice: ~10,000 years ago when we stopped being hunter-gatherers, and 50 years ago with the rise of industrial cooking. Remember that the average body weight for a man in the US increased from ~166 in the 1960’s to ~196 today [1]. This can push your bad breathing over the edge, although in my case I found that going back to a medically normal weight (which is 20-30th percentile now!) actually doesn’t fix the problem.

        I think that “sleep apnea” needs to be divided into several different afflictions, because the general tendency towards bad breathing manifests in different ways for different people. It sounds like a specific thing that certain people have, but it’s not really the case. It’s also common in young, thin women.

        Basically everyone’s airway is a little bit obstructed. But it’s not something a doctor will tell you about, because it may not cause an emergency. It’s more of a thing that unfolds over 20, 30, or 40 years. Doctors tend to give you point fixes for the SYMPTOMS, not the causes. For example, poor breathing causes high blood pressure, and lots of people are on blood pressure meds. And you will also find lots of dentists who will drill your teeth without telling you what the underlying cause of the damage is.

        Another way to think of sleep apnea is like cancer. 100 years ago, fewer people died of cancer, because they would die of something else first. Breathing it the same way… If you don’t die of something else, the accumulated wear of bad breathing may do you in (heart issues, dementia, etc.). Breathing naturally gets worse over time. Obviously, some people have this problem more than others, but if you’re educated and talk to 10 people you know, you’ll almost certainly see signs of it.

        I list a bunch of books in the HN comment if people are interested, and feel free to contact me about it, as I have an ongoing interest here.

        [1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/12/look-at-how-much-weight-weve-gained-since-the-1960s/

        1. 1

          I am interested in this.

          I have a diagnosis of “Vasomotor Rhinitis” which to me sounds like “we don’t know why but your nose canals are a little smaller”. During your research did you come by any tips for that kind of problem?

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            Hm that’s interesting. I don’t recall seeing that term.

            But if you have a mild chronic and/or congenital problem related to breathing, I would check out Nestor’s “Breath”. It is not a conclusive book, but it goes through many different traditions that have uncovered overlapping knowledge.

            He says he has a narrow head, and he had a history of a lot of orthodontic work. And those 2 things are correlated with bad breathing.

            What really stands out as a big lesson is that every thing in your head is related! Doctors tend to treat things in isolation, so they will often give you bad or conflicting advice on these topics.

            Who knew that breathing can affect your teeth? And your diet also affects your breathing, etc.

            Unfortunately I don’t have a specific answer, but I will say that doing research into this topic paid off for me. And if you ask your friends, you will start to notice that everyone has these chronic problems that they tend to ignore, but that reduce their quality of life. Sometimes they can’t travel as well because of the issue, so they avoid this or that, etc.

            The analogy I’ve been using is that you can imagine hitting 100 pumpkins with a hammer. All of them will have some problem, but it won’t be the same problem!

            That’s like humans and breathing. As a species, we’re predisposed to bad breathing. But everyone has a unique problem, and so unfortunately there is a lot of trial and error involved in finding solutions. I have had partial solutions for 3 years, like sleeping on my side and an oral appliance. But am looking at even more solutions, now that I FEEL the great improvements!


            PS. I did hear of something called “Muller’s Maneuver” in a book to diagnose obstructions in the nose, but I don’t know more than that. The book “8 hour sleep paradox” by Burhenne recommends that you ask your doctor for this.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCller%27s_maneuver

            I may start a blog … at the very least I should make a dump of all the books I’ve read. If you find anything interesting let me know!

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            Very interesting morning read thanks ! :) Did you try some Wim Hoff techniques for your breath ?

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              I’ve heard about it, I think through Nestor’s book “Breath”, but haven’t tried it. Yup I just checked Amazon and there are many references to Wim Hof:

              https://www.amazon.com/Breath-New-Science-Lost-Art/dp/0735213615

              Nestor goes through many different traditions of breath work in his book. “Tummo” from Tibet is another one that stood out in my mind.

              What lends this a lot of credibility is that many people over the years, from different cultures, have rediscovered the same things, or at least overlapping things. I’m confident our understanding will grow in the near future!

          3. 3

            Can’t vote this up enough. If you snore or share a sleeping space with someone who snores, get a sleep test. Get a CPAP. Wow. An amazing change. It’s weird to get used to for a week or two then it’s nothing.

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            I’d love to see research into solving the hard problems of federated services – like social networks.

            This 2017 article summarizes my skepticism – https://www.wired.com/story/decentralized-social-networks-sound-great-too-bad-theyll-never-work/

            I’d love to be proven wrong

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              It’s interesting that this article fails to define success until the second to last paragraph of the article - tackle the problem of platform monopolies.

              This is like saying “Linux will never replace Windows on the desktop” or “Instagram will never replace Flickr for serious photographers” or “Racket will never replace C++” You’re casting the platform as a challenger for dominance in a well-established space, and of course it will never win against the incumbent. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be successful in other ways.