Mouse sleeping standing upI hope you can see this interesting picture to the right on the screen. I took the picture with my phone. It is a picture of the NZO Mouse standing upright in his cage with his head back, mouth open and fast asleep–ASLEEEP! Now you may be asking why he sleeps like that. Care to guess.

Let me give you some background. Only humans suffer from Sleep Apnea. Not rodents or other mammals like monkeys. There are several anatomical and physiological features that make humans susceptible to airway obstruction that other mammals don’t have. So why does this large rodent have an airway problem?

Answer: his fat tongue. When fat is deposited in the body of mammals or rodents, the tongue is not immune. As the tongues get larger (and I have seen some huge tongues), it plugs up more of the airway like putting a sock in your throat. The NZO Mouse has adapted by sleeping upright with its mouth open so that the tongue has more room and it can breath better.

Many people with undiagnosed Sleep Apnea have found that they sleep better propped-up in bed or in an E-Z Chair at a 45 degree angle. This allows them to breath better.

If you or someone you know (spouse) is in a routine like this, then they are adapting so they can breath. This is a “heroic” act that allows them to stay alive. They need treatment. Call your physician and make an appointment for them.

Dr Don Lowrance