Tuesday, October 30, 2007


From the NYTimes:

AFTER the subject of poor airline service is exhausted, sleep, or the difficulty of getting enough of it, is what frequent business travelers talk about most.

Once in an airport bar, a senior oil field roustabout, who traveled constantly, described to me his predicament on an 18-hour nonstop trip to Asia.

“I watched two movies, slept for five hours, ate three meals, got drunk twice, and I still wasn’t there, plus I had a hangover when I did get there,” he said wearily.


Apnea is one of the major problems turning up in sleep medicine, said Dr. Barbara Phillips, a professor of medicine at the University of Kentucky and medical director of the university’s Good Samaritan Health Care Sleep Laboratory. Another is jet lag, when the body’s biological clock does not correspond with local time — though travelers are far less likely to seek medical attention for that.

I used to associate the symptoms of sleep apnea with comedy movies from the 1930s and ’40s. You know, the rumbling snore followed by comic blubbering and sudden cessation of breath. Think Curly of the Three Stooges.

“It’s actually not funny,” Dr. Phillips said. Sleep apnea, often the consequence of obesity but many times not, can have a long-term effect on the heart, but also creates short-term problems, including those facing business travelers.

As the article says, sleep apnea is a condition resulting usually from large necks or increased fat tissue around the trachea. In the same vein as Type II Diabetes resulting from obesity, sleep apnea may become a serious problem for the a significant population in America.

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