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Sleep Interrupted: A Sleep Apnea Book Review

Updated on June 6, 2021
Sam Shepards profile image

I'm Sam. I enjoy writing about sleep and mental health-related topics as well as ways to prevent stress and to relax.

Today, doctors and physicians are classifying an increasing number of new diseases and medical issues. Prescription medications address every possible symptom you can imagine. From headaches and sinus congestion to severe cardiovascular and heart conditions, there is a prescription for whatever ails you. Costs are exorbitant in the health care industry. Doctor’s visits, hospitalization costs, over the counter drugs, and other medications add up to bury you in pile of debt while you attempt to recover you health. Shouldn’t proper health and wellness be the right of every individual?

Sleep, Interrupted: A physician reveals the #1 reason why so many of us are sick and tired.

Western medicine’s main focus is how to prevent further aggravation of existing issues. Such an aim overlooks an inquiry into what sets the condition into motion in the first place. It seems to mask the real cause of an existing issue and subtly supports the unhealthy habits and lifestyle choices that incubate illness. Shouldn’t doctors and physicians seek to treat the conditions which bring about illness in the first place? This is the exact question which propelled Steven Y. Park, a physician and author of Sleep Interrupted, to develop a sleep-breathing paradigm.

Sleep-breathing paradigm

“What can we do to prevent chronic or serious illness before they begin?” asks Steven Parks. Section 1 of Sleep Interrupted narrates the discovery of his Eureka! moment, “When I first saw the profound impact poor breathing had on sleep, it opened up a whole new world for me. It radically changed the way I practiced medicine and surgery.” More importantly, it introduces the creation of his sleep-breathing paradigm. Observation and curiosity drive Park to draw a correlation between those that experience any form of upper airway restrictions (such as URS and OSA) and acid reflux of the throat.

“When acid is present in the throat it can cause more swelling of the delicate surrounding tissues, which promotes addition throat collapse, thus further aggravating this vicious cycle. When you experience upper airway restriction, this acts as a vacuum, sucking stomach acid into the throat.”

This correlation results in Park defining his sleep-breathing paradigm. With the objective to present a completely different perspective on treating illness, it cites the importance of breath as “the most fundamental physiological activity we must do to survive.”

“If there is an impediment to breathing of any kind, then it is logical that life and well-being can be interrupted, leading to various ailments and illnesses.”

Common illnesses and sleep breathing

Parks sleep-breathing paradigm encourages doctors and readers to re-examine common illnesses as they correlate with sleep breathing. It ultimately encourages you take responsibility for your overall health by attributing the sustainability life to the breath. After all, if you stop breathing, obviously you die. As it logically follows, if you don’t breathe well, you get sick.

Sleep Interrupted continues with Section 2 dedicating itself to the description of various common medical conditions from the viewpoint of the sleep-breathing paradigm. Such conditions include depression, high blood pressure, ear, nose, and throat problems. Park explains and treats these problems by referencing the breath during sleep. Section 3 offers information about diagnosing and treating sleep-breathing conditions.

Steven Y. Park provides a fantastically logical analysis of his sleep-breathing paradigm. Park continually seeks to re-examine sleeping-disorders under the lens of his paradigm. Though his book is subtitled A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Complexities of Sleep Apnea, sleep apnea is not the main focus of his book, per se. Rather,

“it is only a small portion of my sleep-breathing paradigm. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a distinct clinical condition which is at the extreme end of the picture that I am describing, and although not the main focus of this book, you will find more practical information about it here than many other books devoted entirely to it.”

Park continually encourages the reader to look at obstructive sleep apnea through the lens of the sleep breathing paradigm. This, after all, is the purpose of his book.

I appreciate that Park provides a basic understanding of anatomy and clinical concepts early on in the book. He addresses practical matters such as Why Sleep Position Matters, and Creativity and Breathing, that provide immediate, applicable knowledge. Diagrams are provided throughout the book that references the sleep-breathing paradigm to various illnesses.

Could benefit from more in depth analysis

Though Park does a convincing job in establishing the relevance of his paradigm, those who expect the book to provide the most up-to-date information on the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea will be disappointed.Sleep Interrupted is a book for a general, comprehensive understanding of sleep-disorders, as viewed through his paradigm.

This could not be stressed enough. In depth analysis for sleep apnea and its various classifications, diagnosis, and treatment options may be found in other texts or online. The statistics serve to support the books purpose, but they fail to fully increase conviction. Perhaps this is due to the necessity of Park having to overly simplify internal physiological processes and research in order to be understood by the layman. Park acknowledges a caveat to his book when he states,

“Unfortunately, the group of people who most need to read and understand think will be very resistant to it. I’m talking about the physicians. They will dismiss the findings in the book as being purely anecdotal, and not based on rigorously controlled large-scale research studies.”

Nonetheless, Park is an accredited Physician with a book that informs and stimulates interest. He encourages a more holistic approach to diagnosis, one that takes account of the body’s natural functions. Ultimately successful, he does a convincing job of supporting his theory that it’s the way you breathe while sleeping that is at the root of your sickness.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2016 Sam Shepards


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