Recently we had the opportunity, and great honor, to chat with Dave, a 40-year-old Army veteran who had been experiencing sleep struggles after his separation from the military.
Dave spent the last 10 years of his career in Army Special Operations. He joined the Army after college in the early 2000s and deployed five times in support of named operations as well as countless unnamed ones.
Dave was dealing with a lot of sleep struggles, but like many people, didn’t know which products or tools could help.
Read: Night Sweats in Men
Read More: Why Do I Sleep Hot at Night?
Sleeping Hot and Sleep Anxiety
Dave actually got connected with ChiliSleep through a fitness coach at his local gym. The coach he met at the gym also happens to work here at ChiliSleep! Through their conversations, she asked Dave if he’d like to be part of our company’s philanthropic mission with Sleepme Cares. This includes efforts such as donating our innovative ChiliSleep systems to veterans looking to improve their health and wellness.
Was he interested in trying it out? The answer was a resounding YES, and the rest, as they say, is history. It’s safe to say that Dave is now a very happy ChiliSleeper!
Read on to learn how the Cube helped Dave to not only improve his sleep but ultimately, to reclaim his health and vitality!
Questions and Answers
"I Was Scared to Go to Sleep..."
Thanks for chatting with us about your experiences! On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being amazing, how would you have rated your sleep quality before using the Cube?
I would rate it a 4. That is, I "slept"...closed my eyes, stayed reasonably still in a subconscious state for varying periods of time, but woke up generally feeling tired, sweating, irritable, and had many problems with migraine headaches.
That sounds rough! Unless you’ve experienced it firsthand, a lot of people don’t understand that sleep anxiety can feel like a carousel to nowhere, night after night. Do you mind sharing more details about your sleep struggles?
I wasn't sleeping well at all. I'd often wake up sweating to death, having to change clothes in the middle of the night, having trouble getting back to sleep because the mattress was wet with sweat. One night in particular, my fiancé took a video of me sleeping. I was snoring, and then I stopped breathing...for a minute and a half. I had no idea.
Read More: Night Sweats in Men
That’s very scary! It echoes what the National Sleep Foundation has reported: the most common PTSD-related sleep problems are insomnia, night terrors, and obstructive sleep apnea. Which treatments did you try and were any effective?
All three, and I'll address them collectively. Most people don't "wind-down" when they go to sleep. The lights are still on, they're still using devices with bright blue lights, and that tricks the brain into staying awake longer. I found that once I knew that I was snoring and having episodes of not breathing for periods of time, that I was scared to go to sleep and had severe anxiety about sleeping, especially before the actual sleep study which confirmed obstructive sleep apnea.
I also experienced sleep paralysis, where you wake up, your eyes are open, you are aware of your surroundings, but your body and muscles don't move. You are stuck in the position in which you slept for an indeterminable amount of time before your body "wakes up" along with your mind. I wear a CPAP every night now, which forces air into my nose so that my airways constantly stay open.
Did you try any other “lifestyle” strategies to improve your sleep?
I've worked out and exercised for the last three decades, but never experienced any real progress in those goals until I was treated for sleep apnea and started losing weight with "diet" modifications as well.
Full disclosure, I don't "diet" in the traditional sense. I eat prescribed amounts of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats) daily depending on whether or not I'm working out that day, and in the last six months, I've dropped 30+ pounds as a result. If it fits within my numbers, I eat it. It doesn't matter what it is, within reason. But, if you eat junk, those numbers add up quickly and you'll end up not reaching your goals as quickly as a result.
I haven't tried meditation, but I generally try to stay positive, even when it's hard for me, and breathe when I'm stressed FIRST before saying or doing anything.
How was the overall Cube setup/install process?
Pretty easy! The directions are easy to follow, fortunately I keep distilled water handy with the CPAP because you'll need that as well as some AAA batteries for the remote, but everything is fairly simple!
On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being amazing, how would you rate your sleep quality after using the Cube?
I would rate it a 10! I fall asleep easier and my temperature is regulated! I'm still experimenting with the 'best' temperature setting. You know, what the CPAP does for my airways, sleep stages, and how I wake up, the Cube does for keeping me asleep and not waking up in the middle of the night because I'm either too hot or have to use the bathroom.
What other improvements in your day-to-day routine do you notice since using the Cube?
I'm definitely able to focus more and have much more mental clarity. I don't find myself struggling for words or having lots of pauses in my speech, and I definitely have more energy. On days that I work out I'm well beyond where I was before using the Cube and on non-workout days I still have lots of energy to do everything else I need to do!
Seeing how far you’ve come personally, what advice would you give friends who might be experiencing sleep struggles?
Turning off your brain, dimming lights, and eliminating distractions that keep your brain awake is a start. If you're waking up tired, having headaches, and feel irritable I would definitely recommend a sleep study. And if you're hot at night, whether you have PTSD, or some other condition that affects your sleep, I can't recommend ChiliSleep enough!
Additional PTSD Articles:
Understanding PTSD Symptoms and Sleep:
It is estimated that 1 in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD sometime in their lifetime. Learn about PTSD and how sleep and cooler beds can be used to make it better.
How Veterans with PTSD Can Get More Sleep:
We recently chatted with an Army veteran struggling with sleep issues, including sleeping hot, PTSD, and sleep apnea. Learn more on how the Cube improved his health.
Q&A with Nonprofit Grey Team:
ChiliSleep's now partnering with Grey Team to study sleep's role in veterans' physical and mental health! Read our new Q&A to learn more about the partnership.