But another sleep apnea sufferer, Joanne Murphy of Rancho Santa Fe, found great relief in one of the several variations of the CPAP device, known as the bi-level positive airway pressure, or BPAP, machine. The bi-level simply supplies more pressurized air breathing in than out, thus reducing the often disconcerting feeling of exhaling into a wind.
"The difference for me was like night and day," said Murphy, 50, a former saleswoman and singer. "You wake up and you don't ache, you feel rested and it's like, 'Oh, my God. It's a beautiful morning. Is this how everyone else feels?' "
Stewart, meantime, says life is "slightly to noticeably better" since beginning therapy. He is also pursuing lifestyle changes meant to further mitigate his symptoms. The single man is trying to lose weight and exercise more frequently.
"Women want a man that sleeps well," he said. "Sleep-ism is really an underrated phenomenon."
Getting Better is a twice-monthly column that tells the personal stories of people trying to achieve optimal health and well-being. Send ideas for future columns to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Health, Attn.: Getting Better, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012.