Peterborough teacher who stopped breathing in his sleep has life transformed by diagnosis

Mohammed Dhanji with his mum
Mohammed Dhanji with his mum
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Mohammed Dhanji was so tired that he once even fell asleep onto his food.

And every night the Peterborough Regional College construction teacher would go to bed early while his wife Nicola was awake next to him counting how long he stopped breathing for in his sleep.

Mohammed Dhanji with wife Nicola and son Zakir

Mohammed Dhanji with wife Nicola and son Zakir

“She counted 50 seconds,” said Mohammed (45) of Eastfield.

“Every time I went to bed my wife kept nudging me in the back because I snored quite loud, but that was not the problem. I was stopping breathing in my sleep and it kept getting worse.”

But the problems did not end for Mohammed when he woke up.

“I would throw up, have severe headaches and bad mood swings. It got to the point where it was affecting our relationship and my health.

“In the end it was an ultimatum - she phoned the doctors and said ‘you’re going today’.”

That visit to the doctor was well and truly life-changing for Mohammed, who was diagnosed with sleep apnoea and given a CPAP machine which he uses every night.

The DreamWear machine pumps air into his nose through a mask.

“Now, since being diagnosed, I’m not the person I was,” he said.

“I look back at that period of time - I was suffering from depression, feeling tired, cold and I was constantly ill.

“It also makes you put on a large amount of weight.

“I used to do martial arts and different forms of Keep Fit but I could not do any of those. Now I’m on the machine, I go to sleep and have a good night’s sleep.

“Before I was diagnosed I was scared of going to sleep. I had nightmares every single night - I used to have very vivid, horrible nightmares, even to the extent that I was screaming in my sleep and I would grab my wife.

“As soon as I got diagnosed I went on this machine and now I do not have nightmares which seems quite weird really.”

Mohammed, who has a 14-year-old son called Zakir, is thankful that his wife finally put an end to his dithering to see a doctor.

The former builder was diagnosed around seven years ago but has decided to raise awareness of his condition for World Sleep Day today (March 17).

He added: “I think I’m normal now. This must be what normal is.

“I do things now which I was doing in my mid 20s. I can pick up where I left off. I’ve got my motorbike back on the road, I go travelling, and I go on holidays and enjoy it.

“Before I could not leave home because at eight or nine o’clock I needed to go to sleep.

“My life is completely transformed.”