Dr. Yatin J Patel is recognized as one of the leading sleep physicians in the world today. He is a popular sleep speaker, and the author of three books, including famous book CPAP is Sexy.
What was your inspiration for studying pulmonology?
Growing up in a remote village in Gujarat, I suffered from an intractable cough. I remember my mom trying to comfort me at night during such bouts of cough. She would take me to every doctor in the district, every mandir or masjid in the area hoping for a cure. Fortunately, at age thirteen, I out grew this malignant disease. These horrendous experience years later subliminally guided me to the study of pulmonary medicine.
Tell us bit about Snoozeclinic.com
In 2014, at our sleep clinic in Goshen, Indiana, USA, we saw a young man with a severe obstructive sleep apnea. This is a serious disease in which a person’s upper airway repeatedly shuts off for ten seconds or more, sometimes for a minute robbing person of the deep sleep and increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, and early death. He could not afford the life-saving treatment; the continuous positive pressure machine (CPAP). Unable to stay awake during work, he lost his job. Sleepy, grumpy, and irritable, his wife divorced him. All these could have been prevented if his treatment was affordable. To help patients like him, we started our online store with a mission: Every patient with sleep apnea should be treated affordably or for free if needed. This store sells CPAP machine and the supplies at the lowest cost in the USA.
What’s your definition of sleep and what are sleep cycles?
Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines sleep as a natural periodic state of rest for the mind and body, in which the eyes usually close and consciousness is completely or partially lost, so that there is a decrease in bodily movement and responsiveness to external stimuli.
The sleep state includes two major types of sleep: REM (Rapid Eye Movements) sleep and non-REM (NREM) sleep. NREM sleep is divided into three different stages, with stage three referred to as “delta sleep.” In adults, NREM sleep accounts for approximately 80 percent of their sleeping time, while REM sleep occupies 20 percent of the normal sleep experience.
Our sleep consists of sleep cycles of about ninety minutes each, during which we cycle through light (NREM stage 1 and 2) sleep and deep (NREM stage 3, and REM) sleep. On a typical night, we go through four to five such cycles, and with each cycle, our REM sleep gets longer, deeper, and more restorative.
The REM sleep paradoxically is the active most state of our existence with vivid dreams tracked continually by darting eyes. It is characterized by intense activity in the cerebral hemisphere contrasting with a total paralysis of all the skeletal muscles except the diaphragm and the eye muscles. This paralysis prevents us from acting out our dreams.
What is sleep apnea and why is it on the rise?
Obstructive sleep apnea, a serious and potentially fatal disorder, in which a person’s upper airway shuts off repeatedly during sleep depriving the body of oxygen thereby increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack, uncontrolled blood pressure, and death.
It affects approximately twenty-six percent of the male and nine percent of females between 30 – 60 years of age in the USA. It is much more common in males, but after menopause, this gap narrows as the hormonal changes make females’ upper airway more collapsible.
The prevalence of this disease is increasing because of the obesity epidemic in the world as the sedentary lifestyle coupled with calorie overload become common in today’s hectic lifestyle. The awareness of this disorder is also increasing as people become more health-conscious and stay informed via social media.