I am a 19-yr-old Austrian guy who has a sleeping disorder caused by a disfunction of my brain. AMA.
I have to leave the computer for a party now, i'm really sorry that i can't answer anymore questions today.
This AMA was OVERWHELMING! I never expected so much respond to this, and what started almost six hours ago as a small idea got more than 1,3k votes and tons of comments and questions.
I am extremely happy that i was able to help you, and i also learned a lot today and got some potent tips for my future.
If there are questions open, i will try to answer more tomorrow, but i got stuff to do for university.
THANK YOU REDDIT!
Hi redditors! I am a 19-year-old Austrian chemistry student who got diagnosed with a pretty rare sleeping disorder called "sleeping apnoea" at the age of 17. The rare thing about it is that the disorder is completely caused by a disfunction of my brain, not by physical issues (who are the cause of 99,5% of all sleeping apnoe disorders, as far as i know).
When I sleep, my brain is too inactive to breathe properly. "Normal" brains send two signals when they give the order to breathe, the first one opens the throat so that the air can pass, the second one is the actual breath. My brain doesn't send the first signal, so my throat is too tight for the air. This causes me to stop breathing every now and then, statistically every 45 seconds for 15 seconds, so i do not breathe for 1/4 of the night. Due to the lack of Oxygen i can't get any rest when sleeping.
After three years of being tired and sleeping 13-17 hours every day (my sleeping schedule was mostly 9pm.-7am. and 3pm.-4pm. on weekdays, sleeping during classes not included, and 10pm.-2pm. on the weekend) and my mom thinking i was awake the whole night (and therefore being tired all the time), i got it diagnosed and got a sleeping device, which helps me breathe during the night. This happened in November 2011.
It is a mask with a small box that presses the air with 20 mbar into my nose, opening my throat when i breathe and letting me sleep like every normal person. Not being tired is kind of a new experience for me.
Due to the high blood pressure i got from not being able to rest, my doctors told me that i would have hardly reached my 40th birthday. The mask helps me getting old,my blood pressure is prefect now since i can sleep normally.
I think it is an interesting story to share, so AMA.
Image verification: Imgur
TL;DR: I can't breathe properly when sleeping and now the machines help me getting old.
EDIT: perfect definition of my disfunction by redditor sixtyeightCB: "To elaborate: this would be "central" sleep apnea, as opposed to "obstructive". Obstructive sleep apnea is the common one and happens when soft tissues in the airways relax and stop the flow of air. Central is when all the airways and breathing muscles should work fine, but the brain just isn't telling them what to do."