With an important, tragic anniversary coming up, I thought I should talk about something not related to games but very important.
If you paid attention to the tweets from Ryan's father, you know there's a good chance this was the culprit or at least played a very large role. I know first hand how lethal this condition can be- I lost a father-in-law to it just 4 years ago. It's because of Sleep Apnea my mother went to bed with her husband and woke up next to a corpse. It's also important to me, because I have Sleep Apnea.
Sleep Apnea is Fucking Serious
Put simply, Sleep Apnea is where you stop breathing when you're asleep. There is something interrupting the "automated breathing mechanism" your body uses to keep you alive, or obstructing the air pathway, and it could be a number of things that are congenital, illness, or weight related. In most cases, your body is eventually able to overcome the blockage and you start breathing again after a number of seconds- but there's always the chance that you might not, and that is what should scare you into acting.
"How do I know I have Sleep Apnea?"
There's a good set of warning signs- if you have ANY of these, get yourself checked.
- (hell, any snoring get yourself checked- worse that could happen is you find out you're just annoying when you sleep)
- You know how if you hold your breath for too long you'll get a headache? You could be doing that all night. It's like being hungover without even getting to have the fun that caused it.
- Turns out, if you're getting knocked out of deep sleep every few seconds so your body can breathe you won't get a good night's sleep. Before I got treatment I'd have to start the day with back-to-back energy drinks.
There's a whole lot more but those are the big ones.- there's a whole list here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/basics/symptoms/con-20020286
"That's kinda vague, how can I know for sure?"
Go talk to your doctor. If you don't have a doctor, go get one. They'll likely schedule you for a Sleep Study. Easiest test you'll ever take, you just have to go to this office for the night and sleep while they monitor you. Generally you'll do two of these- one without a CPAP and with. If you're "lucky", they'll wake you up in the middle of it and put you on one because you're that bad off you're stopping breathing some insane number of times per hour (I want to say I was 30s/40s). I'm one of the lucky ones!
So that CPAP thing I mentioned in the last section- that's how they treat most "Obstructive Sleep Apnea" (there are multiple kinds, this is the most common). Stands for "Continuous Positive Airway Pressure", it basically blows air into your nose/mouth to keep your sinus/throat/whatever is causing the apnea from closing off completely. Yes, you will look and sound a little bit like Darth Vader. Yes it's awkward to get used to. I'd start using it the last day of your work week so you have a couple nights of adjusting before you have to go back.
Also, there's multiple types of masks these days so you'll be able to find one that suits you. I could't do one over my nose (didn't fit right and blew into my eyes) and ended up with a "nasal pillow" mask that plugs into and blows directly into your nostrils.
I think that about covers it- GET TESTED. Seriously, it's not that bad and you could be much better off for it. I'll try to answer any questions you might have- but bear in mind that I'm not a doctor by any means.