'I fell asleep while driving'

Terry Gasking was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea after a couple of terrifying incidentswhere he fell asleep at the wheel. He tells us how he got through it.

"I was driving along the A418 when I suddenly woke up and found myself going down the wrong side of the road.

"I must have fallen asleep at the wheel, even though I didn't feel particularly tired. Thankfully, nothing was coming the other way or I wouldn't be here today.

"The second time was particularly frightening. I was driving past a village school and remember being fully alert, watching the children to make sure they didn't step into the road.

"The next moment, I was gone I'd fallen asleep, completely unaware. I woke up 50 yards away, about four feet from a brick wall. I could have killed a child.

"The worst thing about snoring and sleep apnoea is that you have no idea that it's happening to you. You think you're sleeping for hours, but you're not you're only sleeping for very short spells.

"In my case, I was diagnosed as a moderate sufferer. I stopped breathing 28 times an hour. This means my average sleep period was just two minutes.

"When you think sleep deprivation is a form of torture, you realise that people with sleep apnoea go through torture every night because they're not getting enough sleep.

"I tried every simple 'remedy' I could lay my hands on nose clips, things to put up your nose. Nothing worked. Then I tried CPAP [continuous positive airway pressure].

"The sleep deprivation that I'd suffered for 30 years went overnight. Suddenly, I was given the energy I had 20 years ago."

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Jul 2016