Originally published on It’s Not Where You Start.
I have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition that prevents your air passages from staying open on their own while you sleep. For most people, your body deals with this situation by waking you up every time the passage collapses on itself, which in my case was close to 60 times a minute (that’s once a second!) when I try to sleep unassisted. When you wake up that often, you don’t necessarily feel conscious, but when you wake up “for real” in the morning, you feel as if you haven’t slept at all because, well, you haven’t.
There are generally two reasons why someone develops sleep apnea. Either they are massively obese — viewers of The Biggest Loser are familiar with the condition because it’s frequently listed among the reasons why being fat makes the contestants miserable — or their throats are just made that way. Sadly, I fall into the latter category. Each time I see my doctor, she begins a lecture about how I could lose a few pounds (and I know I could), but she stops herself short once she points her microscope at my throat, realizing that no matter what my weight, sleep apnea is my lot.