top of page

Episode 118 - Dr Chris Allen - Instagram's "Sleep Doctor Chris" on His Own Journey with OSA


Hey there, it's Emma Cooksey here and I'm your host.


So couple of things this week.

On Saturday I talked at a virtual conference run by the PCOS, PCOS, A A.

So it's the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness Association and that's a great organization.


I had PCOS.

So for people not familiar, that's an endocrine issue that some women have where we miss periods and there's all sorts of different symptoms.

And one of the things often affecting women with PCOS is disruption to their sleep.


And we just need way more research.

Like there are people looking at links between sleep apnea and PCOS.

Because it seems like a lot of people with PCOS do develop sleep apnea.

But we don't have the data yet to kind of say exactly what's happening there.


But there's people looking into it.

So I certainly had PCOS during my 20s and then went on to develop sleep apnea.

So I was mainly trying to raise awareness about the symptoms and treatment options for sleep apnea so that if anybody listening with PCOS also recognized the symptoms of sleep apnea, they could follow that up with their doctor.


So it was a really great conference and I was super grateful to be asked to speak at it.

So then tomorrow and I'm going to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina and I'm going to be speaking at the Carolina Sleep Society meeting.


So I'm really looking forward to that.

So if you're going to that meeting, then please come and say hi to me.

And I love to meet people that listen to the podcast.

So yeah, that should be really fun.

Totally nerding out with a bunch of sleep people, which is my favorite thing.


So then the other thing before we get on to today's interview was a journalist reached out to me because she wants to write a story about my workbook.

So if you've listened the last couple of weeks, I was talking about how I'd written a workbook called the Six Week CPAP Solutions Workbook for you guys, especially for people who are new and struggling CPAP users.


So thank you so much to everybody who has bought that, and I hope it's being really helpful.

And a journalist did reach out to me and just ask if there were any of the people who had got that workbook and used it, who would find it helpful that she could maybe speak to an interview.


And so if that's you and you have found the workbook I wrote helpful in your CPAP journey and you wouldn't mind speaking to a journalist about it, then please e-mail me at and I can put you in touch with her.


And so now on to today's guest.

So today I'm joined by Doctor Chris Allen, who's known as Sleep Doctor Chris on Instagram and he is a board certified Sleep Medicine doctor for kids and adults.


He's also board certified in pediatric neurology and he says he does love neurology, but sleep is his passion.

So he's on a mission to really help people get better quality sleep and to raise awareness and all about sleep.


And he calls himself a sleep superhero.

So yeah, and if you I just love following him on Instagram.

So if you're not already following him, he's sleep doctor Chris.

So without further ado, here is my conversation with sleep Doctor Chris, Chris Allen.


So thank you so much for joining me.

Well, thank you for having me.

And so I just wanted to tell everybody about how I first learned about you.

So I was in Scotland with my eldest daughter, going to see Harry Styles.


It's the whole thing and and all all of my friends were getting ready to go to the sleep conference and the whole like sleep community especially on Instagram is not very big.

So I've been to the sleep conference last year and but this one I wasn't going to because I was going to be too tired after this big trip to Scotland.


And so I come back and I just had the worst FOMO and all my friends are like posting pictures with like sleep Doctor Chris.

And it's just like, so Doctor Chris, you know, like here he is with like, you know, all these different people that I know that I'm a bit like who is this like Doctor Chris and why is he friends with everybody that I'm friends with who, you know, I'm totally missing out kind of thing.


So then, when I started following you on Instagram, I felt more like part of the gang.

Well, I appreciate that and that and that if honestly I feel more part of the gang as well.

I've been in the sleep community for a long time and so I just decided to come out and.


Put myself on the social media present present and you know, someone told me, so you know, you're sleep influencer now I'm like, hey, I'll take it.

So yeah, I love it.

We need to hold hands on deck.


And so when I started my sleep doctor, Chris Page, it was actually a month before the sleep conference.


Because I've always wanted to do this.

I always feel that like I love Sleep Medicine, shameless plug.

I'm also a pediatric neurologist and I love neurology.

But sleep is my passion and I love talking about sleep.

I get excited about it.

You know, when people say, I know you're a doctor, I don't need no, please talk to me about it because I can talk hours about it.


And so I loved it.

And I'm like, you know, I want to reach out to people in different ways.

And social media is one way.

And I've seen some people in the sleep community that's been doing it and been doing a great job.

And I'm like, you know what?

Let me put that out there and let me be authentically myself.


And so if you ever see some of the videos on me, like that's me.


You know, I love to sing.

So you might see me singing karaoke.

I love to dance.

There's been dancing.

There's been rapping.

Yes, like.

That's a funny story in itself, which I'm extremely humbled by my close friends, they.


They knew that I was doing this and they saw like how the traction it was picking up and my birthday passed and they all got together.

They play.

They I'm in Michigan and so they paid this like Detroit rapper.

It wasn't Eminem, but hey, still great this bright rapper to do Assault.


They're really good friends.

Dr. Chris They're not going to pay that.


And The thing is, look, I don't.

And that's the thing.

I didn't even ask how much they paid.

Yeah, yeah, they did that And how they presented it to me.

We usually have like a zoom meeting where we like uplooked each other and it's like, all right, let's do this.


If anyone's having problems, and they said, and we usually do it on the weekends, but then it did that in a weekday and I'm like, okay, what's going on?

And it's usually like a good four group of friends.

But then I started seeing like other people on this and I'm like, whoa, what's going on?

And I'm like, is this an intervention?

I'm like, what am I doing wrong?

But The thing is that they presented that song to me and I was like wow, I got.


So we're going to do a link to your Instagram kind and the show notes under this episode so the people listening can go and check out what we're.

Talking about and The thing is I I made it simple sleep doctor Chris.

So if you put that in and it's a Dr. but if I think you type it, it'll still come up.

I'm just surprised that that wasn't taken because you know I'm a Chris and and you probably off the top of your head can think about 20 different Chris's easily And so when that came I was like wow that's not taken.


I'm going to take a D that's why.

So let's get on to the thing that really was exciting to me about your story is, is not that I want you to have sleep apnea, but I just think that it's great when doctors have sleep apnea themselves because it gives them a whole another level of understanding.


So do you want to talk to us a little bit?

It might intertwine with the story of how you became a doctor and chose sleep and all that, but you want to take us through the story of your own journey to diagnosis and treatment with sleep apnea and what that looked like.


Most definitely.

And The thing is, is that when I talk to my patients, every patient that comes through, especially if I'm concerned if they do have obstructive sleep apnea, I make sure that they know.

And I always tell it sounds like a cheesy commercial.

Like, you know, not only by your doctor, I have a also.


Yeah, I think it's amazing though.


And so around 19 years ago.

This was when I was like in Med school and now this date myself.

But yes, around that time I was in class and they were actually talking about obstructive sleep apnea.


And The thing is, is that with obstructive sleep apnea, and this is on the medical side, it should be talked about more.

A lot of providers know about it, and in Med school we get maybe one to three lectures about it and it might be intertwined with like some other stuff when you talk about the lungs.


But they really have, like, that one lecture from there.

There should be more.

I think they've gotten better over time.

And so we're sitting in the lecture and I'm watching it, and they're talking about the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea and being tired in the daytime, snoring, pausing and breathing.


And then my girlfriend at the time and my friends, they're looking at me and they're all laughing.

And I was like, what was going on?

And they were like.

That, that is you.

And I'm like, no, it's not.

And just even thinking about that, then I had one of those, like, M Night Shyamalan moments or like, I think like this, the twist.


And you start thinking back, It's like, you know what?

I do snore.

I am tired.

When I was younger, I would like have people dread if we're going on like high school trips and they got to share a room with me.

So all of that was happening and then I was like, you know what?


I might have it.

And at that time I was in Med school and they were affiliated with the VA and they were doing studies and I was walking in the hallway, you see this flyer and it says, you know, do you snore and had all the list of that And it's like, are you currently not treated?


And I'm like, I guess not.

And so I went to that and they were doing studies on there.

And I remember going into the room, I took pictures of it.

Which you just gave me a good idea.

I should show that old picture, and it was an overnight polysomnogram you did.


Yes, they did a polysomnogram.

And then they also did some other tests during the daytime as well through it.

I think it was like 4 different days that I had to go in there.

And I remember the first night that I did the polysomnogram.

And over the morning, I just remember the sleep text just looking over me.


And I was like, what?

It's like, Oh yeah, you have sleep apnea.

And so that was my introduction to, like you have sleep apnea and from that study that, you know, as a parting gift, I was able to get CPAP through there.

And so and I tell the story telling my patients that.


So when I started using it, I'm like, all right, I guess it works, whatever.

Because you know, when you're in Med school, you're studying, you're going late.

And so like, I was just exhausted anyway, just that alone.

But three months in, I went on a trip and I had to take my CPAP with me.


And I felt horrible.

And I'm like, you know what?

Maybe there's there might be something in this.

And then, you know, along the way, you know, the partners are like, look, keep that on and then, you know, getting married.

And so, you know, I get the nice little love tap if it's not on, you know, little things like that.


And so I definitely noticed the difference with it and with that, it just, it was just so amazing of like, you know, you don't know that you're missing good sleep.

Until you get good sleep, I still don't know what that's like, but that's just me.


And so after you got, so you went through Med school and then did that kind of like pique your interest in this whole sleep thing.

So it was funny.

Through Med school, which just is kind of like a dual question.


Yeah, yeah.

So in Med school, so I wanted to be a doctor and at that time.

And still, you know, I was in love with like I knew I wanted to treat children and so I knew that process.

But in Med school, I fell in love with neurology because it's just beautiful how you can look at someone and tell what part of the brain that comes from.


And so fell in love with that.

And then while I'm doing my training because I was training pediatric neurology or you train in neurology first and then?

So it can work like 4 different ways for that.

The way I did it, I did Pediatrics.


I actually finished the pediatric residency, So do through those three years.

Then I went into the pediatric neurology portion of it.

It was a it's still called a residency, but it's more of a fellowship where, well, they treat you like that because you already had your primary residency.


And through that towards the end of my.

Pediatric neurology through that time.

Still using my CPAP.

Wearing everything tonight and my call night.

I had my duffel bag and CPAP has gotten better throughout the years.


Used to be this big and small.

I mean, they used to be huge.

Oh yeah, definitely.

And I and I still see patients that have some of those old ones.

I'm like, all right, this belongs in the museum.

Let's get you updated when I was doing that.

I went to this.


We have electives where you have to get your core concentrations on when you're training.

And then one of them I was like, well, I have sleep apnea and there's a sleep clinic, so let me do that.

And so, you know, name drop at the University of Chicago, I did a sleep clinic there for Pediatrics and I just loved it.


I loved it so much because The thing is not only that I have obstructive sleep apnea, but just seeing the.

The patients there.

And then with that, I was like, you know what?

I love neurology.

And I still want to do that.

But like, sleep is calling me.

And I answered and so another name drop.


So I did my I applied for a fellowship.

And when I knew that I wanted to go into Sleep Medicine and just being a CPAP user myself and having sleep apnea, I was like, you know what?

I I really love sleep.

And I.

I applied for a fellowship and got in at the University of Michigan.


So that's a super big name, right?

Yeah, so I trained there, and University of Michigan is really big in the sleep community.

Shameless, you know.

Congratulations to them.

There's a lot of people that got awards that were affiliated with either at University of Michigan or had an affiliated affiliation with the University of Michigan at the Last Sleep conference.


So I was very proud to be, you know, The Wolverine, and he was very proud of that as well.

And so I did my training there.

And through that training, when you train for Sleep Medicine for a doctor, you learn how to treat children and adults.

And through that fellowship, Oh, I mean, it was tough, but I loved it.


And I was able to treat adults.

I'm like, you know what, I will still treat children, but I want to treat adults for sleep as well and know how it was personally.

And so that's why I did that And and so and here I am, I'm practicing in Michigan.


So for Pete's Neurology, I see my pediatric patients and then for Sleep Medicine I see kids and adults.

So I got to look on that.

You got everything going on going back to like when you started sleep up yourself, like how easy was your transition.


Were you one of those people that just slept with it and thought it was fine and?

So many days and felt there.

I wish and I wish I could tell my patients that, but that wasn't the case.

Yeah, the first time I used it.

I'm like, what is this?


Because The thing is, is that teaching moment CPAP?

Continuous positive airway pressure.

And that last word is the most important part, Pressure.

You're literally wearing a mask and it provides, you know, a pressure to keep your airway open.

Doesn't matter if muscles are relaxing.


And The thing is, is that I didn't know that then.

So I'm laying down and I'm like, whoa, what is that?

But then The thing is, you know, you sit in class and see all the complications that can happen from it.

It's like, well, I don't want to have high blood pressure.

I don't want to, you know, get a stroke.


I don't want to have erectile dysfunction.

So I'm going to wear this mask.

So, So wearing it, it was weird.

And like, waking up initially, I didn't notice that.

The difference, I mean, people around me.

So it's like someone's sleeping around me and they're like, wow, you're quiet?


And Emily scared them the first time.

He's like, I had to knock on the door.

And I get that with my patients all the time.

And so I always tell people when I see them in clinic with using CPAP, it's kind of like a hindsight moment.


I was calling a hindsight appointment and I'll have patients come in and it's like, well, I don't know what's the difference at all.

And I was like, why Sir?

Well, how many times are you waking up overnight?

I don't know, like once you were waking up 7 times before you got here.

What is your wife saying?

I'm not snoring.

Like that's a difference.


And then you know, in our clinic we do this sleepiness scale and the higher scores, the sleepiest sleepy you are.

The highest number is 24/1 patient like 20 and he's like, I don't notice the difference.

His score is all the way down to like 4, so like, so it's always hindsight.


And that's the thing about sleep.

Sleep apnea is a slow killer.

And so, you know, you hear all the stuff.

It's not going to happen overnight.

It happens over time.

Small changes can make a big, big effect.

And that's the thing for obstructive sleep apnea.


And so going back to that story, yeah, three months in, I went to a conference.

I forgot my CPAP.

I'm like, all right, whatever.

And I'm like, why do I feel horrible?


I'm tired.

My head hurts.

I'm dragging.

I'm like okay there might be something in this.



Yeah, that's awesome.

And so this whole time you've just been using CPAP going along if you had any, like, needed to have your pressure changed or anything?

Happen Most definitely.

So here's the thing, you know, with cuz I think sometimes for the people listening, like I think sometimes it's good to normalize like you know what it's actually like using CPAP because I think because they're the conversations aren't out there as much.


Like people just think if they don't immediately feel better.

And also like you know, over time, you know, it's really important to keep going back.

Like I think a lot of people are like, well, why do I need to go for an annual?

Visit and it's like, well, because what got me a changes over time, yeah.


It's a sleep check.

I always tell them to sleep check up.

It's it's your foot stop appointment.

When you're driving around a race, you got to stop and you got to make sure everything else is going well.

Because The thing is when you notice something's wrong, it was happening months ago and you know, and and that's the thing because sometimes like, and The thing is, I have, I call my Rockstar patients using CPAP every single night.


No problem.

I see them this first time.

It's like I've had this for eight years.

And then the machines are smart enough to tell me how it's treating them.

And then I'll gas.

I'm like, I mean, we need to make some changes.

And so The thing is, they're doing their part.

We need to do ours as providers to make sure that, hey, this is still treating you.


And you notice the difference because just how you know, you didn't have sleep apnea when you're sleeping and all this is happening, you might not notice if there's a change too.

Or it might be very subtle.

Or, you know, usually you get it from the bed partners like.

You're snoring through that, and then they'll call and we can figure that out.


And The thing is, it's like pressure.

I tell people it's kind of like wearing glasses.

You know, people, you know, as soon as you wear glasses, they're on and you see clear as day.

But what happens as soon as you take them off, you can't see it's corrective.

And so I'll have people like, oh, yeah, I've been doing well.


So I just stopped using it.

I'm like, now you're tired even, right?


I was like, and so that's the way.

And so I agree with you about.

You know, normalizing it because The thing is, is that it's a part of life.

And we, you know, even spoke briefly earlier, like 80% of people sleep apnea don't know they have it.


And that is striking.

And that's and that's why I feel like I I do what I can.

And personally knowing just the benefits from it and some problems that I've had because you know, I'm, I'm working on my girlish figures, so my weight has been up and down.

I used to be like I kid you not.


Like, almost. £45 heavier and so when you increase weight you might have to increase pressure.

I usually see patients at least once or twice a year, like if they are, I call them my sleep rock stars.

They're using their CPAP, they are being treated and we noticed the difference with that some of my other problems.


So when my weight is going up and down, so is my pressure.

And there's machines that are smart enough where you can use it automatically even until the automatic settings.

And I have a stark rule.

It's like, look, I'm not be my own dog, You're using automatic settings.

Yes, I am.

And then that helped because I knew my weight was like, you know, trending down.


And and so with that, you know, I I'll see the check and say wow, I mean, you know, the highest, it wrapped up pressure, yeah, higher pressure you can use in a regular CPAP is like 20 and I've gotten all the way up to 17.


Now it's like all the way down to I think last time it was checked, like maybe. 10 or 11 and I think this is that you know and it's not like the higher the pressure the worse it is.

It's just that what that's what's needed to correct it to keep your air right open.

And The thing is, throughout the years, you know, everyone says that, you know, I've used CPAP, I've tried all these types of masks and it's not working.


There are over 200 different types of masks myself.

Being on CPAP for about 19 years now, I haven't used all the masks, so I know for a fact like, you know, my patients or everyone else has not used it.

That's kind of on my bucket list too, at least not use it to try them all.


The time maybe not to try them all, but at least see them all.

Like OK, what masks are out there?


When people say when they use CPAP therapy and you know they're claustrophobic, my well, my take on there, there's a clinical definition of claustrophobia.

Usually they're not claustrophobic, but they just don't like the mask on their face and there's masks for that.

There's masks where you can still wear your glasses and still have that on.


And so there's also different ways to treat that.

Like I I recently have interviewed a couple of people to do with like behavioral Sleep Medicine.

And I know that like, certainly content behavior therapy, like there's stuff that you can do there for people because there are people that have a pretty extreme panic kind of.


Claustrophobic feeling, you know.

So there are definitely things to do.

There's something that's like CPAP desensitization that you can do that.

And remember I also treat kids as well and so I can deal with that all the time, like you know, like a 5 year old.

Here, put this mask on.


Yeah, and kids with Down syndrome as well.

Like I eventually somebody with a child with Down syndrome that was really a.

Intellectual disability.

And that's another talk where like there's, well, actually it's a good segue because.

CPAP is not the only way to treat obstructive sleep apnea, right.


So when I see patients and I'm like, hey, you know, I'm Doctor Allen and, you know, welcome to my clinic, he's like, well, I'm not using CPAP.

I'm like, all right, well, people, people open with that.


Oh, oh, yes.

There's like, I'm not going to use that mask.

I don't use that C crap.


And I'm like, okay.

Well, let me tell you first, if you have sleep disorder, and I always tell all of my patients that there's many ways to treat obstructive sleep apnea.

It depends on your severity.

It depends on and when we find out your severity then I can give you options.

And that's one of the biggest things, you know, I tell them and I always tell them like look, I'm not getting endorsed by, you know, these CPAP companies and it's not my job for you to use CPAP.


My job is to make sure your, your obstructive sleep apnea is treated.

And so and that's the biggest thing.

So it tries to take the pressure off of them because you have insurances that was like all right, you got to use this in three months and if you don't use this, we're going to take it out.

That part can be very like off putting for patients.


I just think like the whole pressure especially like there's a couple of people I've interviewed with multiple sleep disorders at the same time.

So people that are dealing with narcolepsy who are really, you know, like already dealing with some other narcolepsy symptoms during the night, like if you add in using CPAP to that, it's a lot to get used to, you know?


And The thing is, is that, yeah, there's always like hormelbed disorders that can happen at the same time if you want to use them somewhere.

One thing I will say about insurance, and it's The thing is, is that they make it the minimum of hours that you need to use CPAP sometimes.


People will take this like, oh, I only need like 4 hours.

It's like no minimum.

And I was like okay, let's spend a lot of time breaking this done because it drives me insane.

So I was on a webinar maybe like 3 weeks ago or something and there was a man on there who was saying, oh, I have sleep apnea myself and I'm still kind of like building up to the four hours that I'm supposed to be using it.


And to me, I'm like, no, you're supposed to be using it all night and whenever you sleep and during naps and all time just because like I've interviewed people who have lost loved ones, you know, because they the one time they didn't use their CPAP.


Like, you know, they.

Yeah, and that's why I call it the slow killer.

Over time, you know it can take a goal in you, and even if you're not, and if you're using it even partially.

It's only treating it and like I said, it's correct when you're wearing it.

Right, exactly.

So can you explain to people like what those insurance maybe we can break down like what those requirements are and.


For insurances, you know at the end of the day an insurance job is to make sure that they provide you your equipment and healthcare and they provide the money and The thing is, is that they want to hold it.

That like you accountable for making sure that you're actually getting your treatment through that they've done studies and that's why they decided to say that that you want to get at least a minimum of four hours of usage.


And they call that compliance, meaning that you're using it and they will continue to give the money to pay for the machine, continue to give you the money to pay for the supplies.

Technically, you need anywhere between 7:00 to 9:00 hours of sleep.

So if you're getting the recommended amount of sleep, and of course if there's problems, you can work you know through that.


Then you should be meeting that criteria.

So the 1st and The thing is, is that insurance says that you got to get a sleep study and within 30 to 90 days you have to show us that you're using this.

You you gave us a good 30 days, at least 4 hours in a month, 70% of that month.


And so I just say, look, follow what sleep Doctor Chris is saying.

Like use it every single night.

Try to get 7 hours of sleep.

With it, if you're having problems, we work with that.

But that's your goal.

Anytime you're sleeping, you're using it because if you don't, then they're not going to pay.

Then the medical equipment company that gives it to you, they're going to take it right back because they're not getting paid.


And so you know with.

Starting CPAP therapy, the hardest part is like the first three months because one you've never used this before.

You're trying to get used to a mask try to get used to this lifestyle.

And there are patients and people that when they do it, it's no problem.


But when there's problems then you know that's where the where my colleagues throughout the sleep world.

Will help out with that.

And sometimes it's unfortunate because, you know, I have my colleagues that are, you know, that are not sleep trained.

And they, you know, they are aware of sleep apnea.


And sometimes, you know, they'll give them the sleep studies like, oh, I'll just start on the CPAP, but then they're having problems, but then they don't have the support.

You don't have the support, then they get their CPAP taken away.

Then you're just upset like, look, this didn't work.

I I tried CPAP before I didn't like.


There's so many parts just like that me.

They're so frustrating for patients and this is one of them for sure.

And so the the best way to do that is like, you know what we're doing now, we're making a podcast where we're talking about it, education, education to my colleagues, education to the medical equipment company to say like minimum 4 hours, not 4 hours cuz I've had like we'll set an alarm 4 hours.


And take it off right?

And then unfortunately, when you do that, it underestimates.

And so when I see them back, I'm like, sorry you didn't meet this compliance period because it says you have three hours and 50 minutes, right?

And you're like, why didn't use it for two days?

That's what knocked it under, yeah.


So if if people are starting out, just aim for all night whenever you're sleeping and you should be golden.


And then communication, like if you're having so problems, So what kind of support do you guys have?


Like if people are having those problems, I know it varies dramatically.

Oh, it does.

And you know, and in the world of medicine, there's like, you know, there can be shortages.

So you might not have this much support of what you want.

What I typically do is like we I when I have them come back, I have them come back right in the middle of that compliance period.


So even if they did meet it, we still got some time.

So I make sure that they can come back.

I also tell them I was like, look, if I could read minds I wouldn't be working this job.

You know, I'd be in Hollywood.

They're like, look, let's leave Doctor Chris, he's reading mine.

That's not the case.


So I told him like, you got to call to let us know because the medical equipment companies that get paid to like, give them the supplies, they have people there to help them too.

So it's like 3 places they can get it from my clinic.

They can get it from the medical equipment company and even at my sleep disorder clinic that I work with, they have people that can help too.


So it's about communicating.

And The thing is, is anyone out there?

If you're just got CPAP therapy and there's something wrong with it, make sure to communicate that.

Don't wait for the appointment.

Don't try it and then throw it out.

Also, don't try it one night and then put it on the shelf or in the drawer and not do anything else to treat your sleep apnea.


Because I think that there's this idea out there that CPAP is the only solution.

And so people feel like, well, I tried that and it didn't work for me.

And then they don't go go back to their doctor and say this didn't work out.

What else do you have?



And I think that's the biggest thing with the communication.

If it's not working, and The thing is, is that you know when there's problems and you're not, you know in tune with a sleep professional, then try to find a sleep professional because they can give you more options than what seem that's out there.


So, for example, there's literally a piece you can put in your mouth, not the ones on those 800 commercials, but an actual, like, mandatory advancement device.

That's what they call it.

It looks like a mouthpiece.

It moves your jaw forward just overnight where you get comfortable, where it opens up your Airways.


So that's one way.

There's a commercial that comes out all the time and on the radio where there's a hypoglossal nerve stimulator, It's called the Inspire device.

There's And there's even like surgery as well that can correct it as well, too.


Not just like with the nose, because it's not your nose that can help when people, you know, fix that and keep it open, but it's all the way it's happening back here and so there's surgeries to do that congestion in your nose and problems with and the amount of air you can take into your nose definitely play a factor.


Now as far as like they've shown studies with that where as far as because otherwise we'll have Dr. Karen Davidson culling up and being like what about nasal resistance?

And no, no, no.

The thing is, is that I agree.

So I'm saying that it's not just that right with the airway and that can help with treating your sleep apnea, but there's resistance.


But the the apnea part most likely happens all the way in the back and so.

So yeah, there's options out there.

You know, Cpap's not the only option.

A lot of people know about that.

And then you have two types of people that heard about CPAP.

They have that friend that swears by it, and it's their second Bible.


It's like, look, I love the thing.

I can't sleep without it.

This is like, better than sliced bread.

Then you have the other ones like, look, I tried it.

I didn't like it.

I never want to see this again.

If I see it in the middle of the street, I'm going to keep driving and not looking and run it over, you know?

And then there's a third large category of people like me who diligently use their CPAP every single time they're asleep and their numbers look good and they're just really tired.


So there's been a lot.

We have to talk after this because that that wets my chops.

I'm like what?

It's like, so you know what?

And The thing is, even with that, I can.

I said I can talk about this for hours.

Like that means that.

Yeah, You're doing your part.


And if you're still tired, there's some things that can happen along with that.

And there's some studies that show that, especially depending on the severity because you'll still have that, that subset of people that they're doing what you said.

It's like, look, I'm still tired.

There's also, I interviewed one of my favorite interviews with Dr. Alan Pack from the University of Pennsylvania, and he's been doing a really interesting research study in Iceland where he's grouped different people.


So he's taking people that are doing really well with CPAP, so they're super compliant.

And then after two years he and they've kind of been looking at which ones are feeling really well arrested and which ones are still sleepy.

And it's super interesting research.


So it's really depressing for people like me because I think that an element of it is probably going undiagnosed for so long and being hypoxic for so long and so.

That show that because there can be like you know.

The neurologist, to me, there can be some damage from there, especially within the wake centers that can still make you tired.


And but the good thing is, is that there's also ways we can help people that are doing their part and they still, you know, are sleepy or have hypersomnia.

And that's the the great thing about it, and that's the great thing about, like getting quality sleep is.


Like sleep is just so important.

And so I did want to ask you about and you did a really great reel recently about representation.

And we've done a bunch of different episodes with like Dr. Dana Johnson and Dr. Robert Turner, and they've been working a lot of around HealthEquity and especially getting the message out in the black community about obstructive sleep apnea and the need to get tested and treated and some of the specific issues with that.


So I guess I just wanted to kind of ask you a little bit about your choice to kind of put yourself out there on Instagram and and that representation as a black man with sleep apnea who's treating it.

Just to be like to sum it up.


In one sentence and then I'll extrapolate after that, You know, that's that's been the story of my life as far as things I've wanted to do, things I'm moving forward.

I might not see people that look like me that's doing it.

Sometimes that can be discouraging.

So I feel like representation definitely does matter.


Seeing someone that's doing what you want to do, that looks like you.

Be that it's, you know, black.

Be that it's someone that's handicapped.

Be that you're you're a woman or you know, Asian.

It's representation definitely does matter with that.


And you know, I've been more times than not being like the only one doing what I'm doing.

And so I tell people I was like, look, you got to see the dream.

If you don't see the dream, be the dream.

So someone can see the green and that's one of the biggest things.


And especially just in the black community, there are disparities there and they're not getting the care that they need.

There's been tons of studies with that just even outside of Sleep Medicine in general.

And so definitely when I have my black population that I definitely see I'm, you know, it's important to me that they are aware and that they can have those tools as well.


And some people don't know that.

And that's one of the another big reasons why I am doing this on Instagram because, hey, you know, there's a saying, you know, I'm not that young, but I'm not that old either.

Or, you know, people do it for the ground and you know you're on there and you're hitting people that may not hear that.


You know, some people may not be in a lecturer to hear this.

To say that they just might be scrolling through and they see a real and it's like, look at him, he's dancing.

It's like, wait a second, do I snore?

Yeah, I do snore.

Wait a second.

I do have some pausing and breathing.

Well, I think it's.

Let me click on this.

It's such a huge problem, right, that people are not getting diagnosed and treated and one thing I've learned even doing this on social media is that we know it and it's second nature to us.


But a lot of people don't.

And one, and I remember starting sleep Doctor Chris, and and there's this hairdresser I was talking to.

It's a friend that I went to, like, high school with.

And she was like, you know what?

Because of you, I know I got to get 7 hours of sleep.

And so I was just telling my man, look, I need to get my 7 hours of sleep.


And I was like, you know what?

This is why I'm doing it.

It's like a little nugget that can go, you know, far from there.

And you know, The thing is that I'm in medicine.

So I get to sit in the lectures.

I get to hear those studies.

I get to hear the studies when you don't get good sleep.

And what happens?

I get to hear this, the lectures on what happens when you're not getting your sleep apnea treated or if you have high blood pressure and it's still uncontrollable but yet you still have a sleep disorder or if you have narcolepsy and your quality of life is not great or restless leg syndrome.


So I very fortunate for that and just circling back to what we're saying about like getting that information out there.

I've countless of times I've seen people even like within the black community, my people that are getting treated that are noticing the difference and that can move forward.


And then even starting at a younger age because even with obstructive sleep apnea in kids, it doesn't look like it does in adults And so their symptoms might imitate ADHD.

And so all these kids that are and and I'm very fortunate, like I said, I'm pediatric neurologist that I've had to see them for ADHD and I'm like wait a second, does he snore?


And the mom's like all the time and I'm like, well, how loud?

And then we get a sleep study to have severe obstructive sleep apnea and then they get treated, their grades got better.

They're not as hyperactive and granted you can still have obstructive sleep apnea and like ADHD, but that's the biggest thing about getting tools out there.


And so that's why I do that and.

Well, I'm really glad you're doing what you're doing.

And so the other thing I just wanted to say really quickly is.

I saw one of your reels where you're working out with your wife.

And then I was like, so Dr. Chris's wife is on Instagram.


Let me go over there and follow her.

My God, she's a total rock star.

First of all, the reason why I'm doing this is because of her, right?

And that she was like, you need to do this, you know by example, shameless plug for her wise weight management.


So she's a.

Shameless plug because I love her.


And so she does obesity medicine and and it's that good combo sleep.

You know what?

I help them get quality sleep so they can lose weight And and seeing her do it and I was like, you know what?


She's putting the message out there.

She's telling people about, you know, realistic goals on eating weight and how you should lose weight.

And before she got big into her, her obesity medicine, that was her test subject, you know, making sure I'm eating the right foods and and she's one of the big reasons why I was able to lose, you know, all that weight.


So she she was as many times in life and I don't have enough time to talk about how she's inspired me but she definitely was a big inspiration for that and then she's she is also said.

She's your work at partner.


And The thing is, is that.



And she and she's out of us.

She's the one that's the athletic one.

You know grew up running.

And so like it took up, you know, running because of that.

Being consistently active and just doing the small things.

And so definitely big inspiration for that.


And The thing is, and you know, she told me, it's like, look, you like doing all this, you know, social media stuff.

So why don't you try it?

She's like, it'll be easy for you.

And so I was like, you know what?

Let me try it.

And so I'm putting it in there.

I'm being my authentic self because I saw her be her authentic self in there.


And yeah, and so.

Well, it's awesome.

Thank you so much for all that you do.

You're out there.

You got articles and I'm like, you know, I'm doing my social stalking on you and I'm like, man, she's doing some good stuff.

And like, and all this stuff podcast, I'm really, yeah, I'm really excited.


And especially it's just something in the sleep world to help.

And so whenever there's the next sleep conference that you go to, hey, we'll drink on me okay.

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

132 - Dr. Steven Park - "Sleep Interrupted"

Dr. Steven Park [00:00:00] Emma Cooksey: So Dr. Park, thank you so much for joining me. Dr. Steven Park: It's a pleasure. Emma Cooksey: I'm really, really delighted because I'm a big fan. So I've alre


bottom of page