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Rachel and Kevin’s Story: Sleep Disorders

Rachel and Kevin’s Story: Sleep Disorders

When Rachel and Kevin started dating, 13 years ago, he snored a little. It was audible, but it didn’t bother her much.

As the years went on, the snoring got worse. Rachel began wearing ear plugs to sleep and when the snores grew louder she would try to block out the noise by putting a pillow over her head. She recalls, “The snoring began to remind me of a fog horn.”

It became harder for Rachel to fall asleep. If she fell asleep before Kevin, she could get some rest but if he fell asleep before her she was unable to get to sleep which led to anxiety about going to sleep, and insomnia. Rachel remembers, “If I didn’t get to sleep before him, I would be awake, often for hours and sometimes all night.” On particularly bad nights she tried sleeping with the kids in their rooms, but sharing a bunk bed or twin bed didn’t work well either. She searched the internet and tried various noise reducing ideas and devices that promised to stop the snoring, but nothing worked.

Rachel says, ”My luck turned when I attended a lecture on sleep at El Camino Hospital.” During the lecture, Dr. Tony Masri explained what sleep apnea is and how he treats a variety of sleep conditions, inducing sleep apnea, insomnia and restless leg syndrome, at El Camino Hospital’s Sleep Disorders Program. She had heard that snoring could be a symptom of sleep apnea but did not realize that a thin, physically healthy guy like her husband could have sleep apnea. After the lecture, Rachel called and made an appointment for her and her husband right away.

Kevin underwent a sleep study which confirmed he had sleep apnea. He was given a mask and CPAP machine to use at night. Rachel thought CPAP machines may be loud and was worried she would still have trouble sleeping. To her surprise not only did the snoring almost entirely stop, but the CPAP machine’s white noise was not bothersome at all.

After Rachel’s initial meeting with Dr. Masri, she was prescribed several sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy with a sleep therapist, who provided helpful information, sleep hygiene tips, and personalized modifications. The combination of Kevin’s sleep apnea treatment and Rachel’s sleep therapy helps them both now sleep well.

Rachel shares “My four-year-old still often offers “You can sleep with me if Dad snores” but I haven’t had to yet.”