BAKERSFIELD, CA - We all know sleep is important, but just how much can it affect your health? One local man said improving his sleep habits saved his life.
After being hospitalized for 45 days Patrick Ryan said he decided to contact Dr. Al Bensusen at Sandman Sleep Lab for help with multiple health problems connected to sleep.
"I had congestive heart failure, I had some kind of virus in my body and then I had renal failure, both of my kidneys were shutting down because I'd been giving a large quantity of diuretics. So, when I went into the hospital I went into the emergency room and it was a life and death time," he said.
Now, Ryan has a new outlook on life and credits it to a change in his sleep habits. He said his condition was largely due to sleep apnea and his inability to maintain the correct oxygen level while he slept.
Ryan said, "You're supposed to have 95% or more to be healthy and I was running down as low as 58%. It was affecting the carbon dioxide in my lungs and it was just killing me."
Ryan contacted Sandman Sleep Lab for assistance in correcting the problem. Under Bensusen's advice, he began using a variable positive airway pressure, or VPAP machine when he went to sleep. The machine assists the lungs in oxygenating the body, preventing people with sleep disorders from waking up in the middle of the night because they're oxygen deprived.
Bensusen said, "We treated him for apnea and that corrected these other problems that he's been having and he's already had some other deficiencies so he needed all the help he could get and the end result has been quite spectacular."
"I'm now sleeping about 9 hours a day. I'm sleeping deep and I'm getting into the REM the rapid eye movement portion of sleep and my body, my organs are just able to relax and rest and I'm just feeling fabulous," Ryan said.
Bensusen said sleep deprivation can lead to several health problems like obesity, hypertension, memory loss, and even increase the risk of cancer.
"A lot of chronic problems are due to lack of sleep. All of these diseases can be corrected somewhat, if not completely by sleeping enough, going through enough normal sleep cycles a night, not cutting short," Bensusen said.
Ryan is now feeling the effects of a good night's rest.
"I have energy, I've lost a lot of weight and I'm keeping it off and my blood sugars are balanced and my oxygen levels in my blood are normal and I'm happy," said Ryan.
Doctor Bensusen said the average person needs about eight and a half hours of sleep each night. If you're not getting that much rest, he said your body isn't performing as well as it could be.