Better sleep through technology
I’ve always had issues where I’ll stop breathing in the middle of the night, but I don’t snore. Sometimes I wake up gasping for air. I’ve suspected central sleep apnea for a long time.
Several years ago I had an in-home sleep study, where they hooked up an SpO2 meter to me and recorded it overnight. There were a number of drops throughout the night, indicative of apnea in general, and as a result I was provided a CPAP machine (on the assumption that it was obstructive, rather than central, apnea).
The CPAP machine didn’t really help much (if at all) and I kept trying to make it work over the next few years. Then due to a change in insurance I needed to get another study to get authorized for continuing the prescription, and they said that the CPAP machine wasn’t helpful for whatever my sleep issue was. I ended up selling it on the used market.
But I was still having apnea issues, and a lack of restful sleep.
Over the past few weeks it’s gotten especially bad, and after someone was evangelizing the Oura ring, I looked into continuous monitoring solutions. I’ve had a cheap finger monitor for years, which has been helpful for spot-checking but is uncomfortable to wear to bed, and also doesn’t record a log, making it less useful for diagnosing issues.
Oura is pretty expensive (and now requires a $6/month subscription plan) and doesn’t do continuous SpO2 monitoring (it only does momentary checks, similar to the current Apple Watch), but perusing other reviews and half-remembering a few videos I’d seen years ago, I eventually came across the Wellue O2ring, which is a continuous monitor which logs SpO2, heart rate, and movement all night long, and can also send a little vibration to your finger whenever the SpO2 drops below a configurable threshold.
So I ordered one and it arrived yesterday. I set it up and configured it to a 92% threshold (since previous casual experiments with the continuous finger monitor seemed to show that as being a good starting point), and then proceeded to have the most restful sleep I’ve had in years.
In the morning I checked the log which showed that I’d only gotten two nudges (which I have no memory of), and that was enough to set my sleep straight. It also gave me a detailed graph.
I still have the smart bed tracker, and today’s sleep result was also pretty interesting, especially compared to the previous week. Unfortunately I don’t have a good way of distilling that information for a blog post, but this is the first time in a long, long time that I’ve had over 7 hours of continuous, uninterrupted sleep and a substantial amount of REM.
There’s another version of the meter which costs a bit less (and actually has an active lightning deal at this very moment although that’s only for the next 5 hours). It looks like it’s intended more for activity tracking while exercising, and only monitors SpO2 and has a few other disadvantages. The manufacturer has a chart comparing their models, buried on their site:
Anyway. I’m going to keep trying this thing and see if it helps long-term. Like most of these quick fixes I’m worried it might have been a first-time outlier or a placebo effect or something, but it’s definitely a lot more promising than anything else I’ve had so far.
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