sleep issues: and how to solve them

Our modern lifestyle has issues.


Before I go any farther, you realize I am not a medical professional, I am an artist/writer/naturalist who really hates Big Pharma, most technology (though I am forced to use it, meh) and would rather go live in Middle Earth. If they have Star Trek’s technology. Everything here is my unhumble opinion shouted loudly and roared ferociously (I am a Leo), as well as stuff I found on the web, which may or may not be scientific.

That said, there are alternatives to the pop culture approaches. But you should probably educate yourself, and talk to an actual medical professional. Don’t believe everything you read on the interwebs.


Most of us don’t get enough sleep, are over-scheduled and multitasking, and far too wired into our devices.

We need to unplug and get our Vitamin N…

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some great books by Richard Louv,

and the one I first heard of…

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This one has pretty much been proven by Science, and doesn’t require any medication. It is simply unstructured play time in the natural world. The Japanese have a thing called  Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, basically, being in the forest… just being… as in are you a human being or a human doing?


I did a sleep study…

A home study revealed moderate sleep apnea. I am a normal weight and have spent most of my life doing crazed physical things like training wild mustangs, bashing big guys over the head with rattan swords (and occasionally steel ones), wrangling otters, owls and deadly Bambis (if it gets out of that dog crate we’re diving out the van door because… we are goldfish in a blender if we stay in this van…) for wildlife rehabbers, kayaking, clinging to a set of wheels (bike, rig) behind two to four less than obedient sled dogs… and once in awhile I get to drive a ship with cannons (let me recommend the Chesapeake Bay’s tall ships’ public sails)(yes, some let you steer).

I am much creakier now so the horses, dog team and waves are smaller… but I can still take out a burglar if I have a big stick… I think… well, there’s always the sword collection…

I digress.

Sleep study.

I understand that the CPAP is a lifesaver for many and that some engineering geniuses tried to make it as functional as possible.

It is a bloody evil torture device.

Of course I can’t stand bras (except the stretchy sporty not really there kind), nightgowns (they WILL eat you), tucked in covers (GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! THE THIRTY FOOT PYTHON IS SWALLOWING MEEEEE!), and food that touches. Also sleeping bags are evil. And clothing tags.

In the whatever century that was, I would have slain the first idiot who tried to place me in a corset.

OK, sandwiches with everything is Food That Is Supposed To Touch, as is vegetable soup or those awesome Ben and Jerry kinds of cie creams with everything in them…. But DON’T YOU DARE PUT MY CORN ON THE SAME PLATE AS MY MASHIE TATERS AND GRAVY!!!!!


So I show up at the sleep center reasonably ready to snore and…

(the night shift actually does sound like Dracula because they are in fact from that part of the world)(let me mention their awesomeness…)

I spent an entire night not sleeping one bloody wink and deciding my new motto is Death Before CRAPs.

So not a typo.

Because I will die of lack of sleep if I ever try one again.

And I know there are other ways to treat sleep apnea.

And I am not the only one who thinks the Machine is a bloody evil torture device.

I will mention that I got an advanced open water scuba diving certification years ago, and did a number of dives in cold murky water, in full wetsuits. Putting one of those on is precisely like wrestling a giant squid from the inside. Then, while your wetsuit is trying to strangle you like a giant python, you wrestle into umpty pounds of tanks and weight belts and things and stuffs. Then you lumber into the water and try to remember how to breathe. If you have inflated your BC so you do not sink straight to the bottom (a good idea) the BC will now attempt to choke you.

2001-10-28 Gourd of the Rings (37)

(carving the Gourd of the Rings underwater in October)

I eventually learned to beat all this gear into submission long enough to enjoy a half hour to an hour underwater. Once you are level and floating thirty feet down, it’s much more comfortable.

The CPAP is nothing like that.

Some individuals simply cannot tolerate CPAP because of nasal congestion and the pressure felt because of the high flow of air created by the device.

Straps around your head, can’t turn sideways because then the air does weird things, feeling like you are being smothered, cold air whooshing up your sinuses drying them out, nose still stuffy, what if I have to sneeze or yell at the cat, how about potty breaks…


So I looked up alternative treatments. Some of which are accepted standard medicine.

In some cases surgery is an option. I think, for more severe issues.

Dental appliances can help keep the jaw aligned properly.

There are neoprene straps that basically keep your mouth shut while you don’t snore now.

And this:

Some basic steps:

  • healthy weight; which means a diet of real food like natural veggies, beans, high fiber stuff, whole grains, and read those labels so you’re not eating things you can’t pronounce. Also exercise (which has become an issue for me this winter as I really just want to hibernate)…
  • Utilize adaptogen herbs: Adaptogen herbs like maca, ginseng and rhodiola can help control health conditions that can make it hard to lose weight (like high amounts of stress, thyroid issues, leaky gut, adrenal fatigue, cellular toxicity and candida).

  • lay off the booze, drugs and smoking, duh… doesn’t mean you can’t have a Flying Dog Pearl Necklace now and again… (and it helps restore oysters in the Bay), apparently not before bed though…
  • treat congestion, acid reflux, coughs… I have allergies, one nostril or the other is constantly clogged… someone suggested apple cider vinegar as a way to help acid reflux
  • humidifiers and eucalyptus oil help open airways… or put in a big aquarium
  • wedge pillows, elevating your head, sleeping other than on your back
  • snore guards: either over the counter (boil and shape, like those things you use in various athletic endeavors) or dental appliances that keep your jaw in the proper position

Here’s another page with 6 ideas on how to treat sleep issues naturally…

besides the usual lose weight and sleep in a different position, (don’t stay on your back, and make sure your pillows don’t push your chin down toward your neck) they recommend…

  • vitamins/minerals
  • herbals
  • Serotonin Precursor 5-HTP

While this is not mentioned in either article, melatonin was used in the hospital I stayed at last year for Crohn’s, and I have used it at home for years. It is a natural hormone your body produces and helps you get to sleep.

Another page on it…

  • green tea
  • antioxidants
  • Another supplement that may be helpful for those with sleep apnea symptoms is an omega-3, such as fish oil especially one which has been formulated to by highly concentrated in the omega-3 fatty acid DHA.
  • vitamin D

Also, we hear from Dr. Oz…

Two tennis balls and a sock…

Is it dairy or some other food intolerance?

Clear overview of the types of apnea and some treatments…

also, one cure is playing the digeridoo…

I kid you not.

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Playing the didgeridoo (native Australian wind instrument) can strengthen the soft palate and throat, reducing daytime sleepiness and snoring in people with moderate sleep apnea.

And I have one.





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