NOTE: This is not intended to be any sort of medical advice -- but merely a description of the method I used to determine whether I did or did not have sleep apnea*. Here's an example of a short, few minute section, of my results:
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Members of my family have sleep apnea and I often suspected
that I might also have the affliction. The proper course of
action, of course, is to have your doctor refer you to a
sleep-clinic for definitive results.
I used the following very simple method of checking and
determined that I do not suffer from sleep-apnea.
I have a very neat "IRiver" brand MP3 player/recorder I found at
Salvation Army for a few dollars (they list upwards of a couple
hundred dollars new). One nice thing about this is that it will
make a recording that lasts many hours. Even an antiquated
cassette recorders can be used if a 90 or 120 minute tape is used.
In a nutshell, all I did was to tape this recorder to my bed
headboard, just a foot or so from my head and let it run for
about 4 hours as I slept.
In the morning, I downloaded the 4 hours into my computer
as an MP3 file.
I can think of a whole lot of things I'd rather do than to have
to listen to 4 hours of snoring, snorting and huffing in order
to see if you have big gaps where you don't breathe (the tell-tale
symptom of sleep apnea). Fortunately, a very very neat free MP3
manipulating program called "Audacity" came to the rescue.
Audacity is available as an absolutely free download at this URL:
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/ It's great for tons of
other musical editing/manipulating projects & is very simple to use.
Once into Audacity, I hit "edit" then "select all" then "effects",
then "amplify" then UNcheck the "dont allow clipping" box (audio
idelity is not at all important here) & then entered "15" in the
"amplification (db)" window. Then I hit ok.
By clicking on the "magnify" (+) key a number of times, I can
easily see each breath (or snore) displayed in graphical form.
It takes a few minutes to view each of the many screens of
snoring/breathing, but in the end, I saw NO evidence that I
stopped breathing even for a few seconds. Apnea would have stood
out like a sore thumb, as unusually long gaps between breaths.
This testing method really works. With the "amplification (db)"
level jacked up to 15 or 20, even the softest of breaths still
make distinct visible peaks..
Dennis Havlena - W8MI
* Sleep apnea is a quite common sleep disorder where you have
periodic or regular pauses in breathing while you sleep.
Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes.
They can occur up to 30 times or more an hour. Typically,
normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud
snort or choking sound. Sleep apnea is generally a chronic,
ongoing condition that disrupts your sleep on a regular basis.
This results in poor sleep quality that makes you tired during the
day. Sleep apnea is one of the leading causes of daytime sleepiness.
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