Former Bodybuilding Champ Muscles His Way into A Good Night’s Sleep

“CPAP Helps Me Sleep So I Can Enjoy Watching My Grandchildren Grow Up.”

“Sleeping isn’t the best way to spend your life – but getting a good night’s sleep is the key to a better quality of life – and can help you live longer.”

The speaker is ‘Big Mike’ Katz who just celebrated his 70th birthday. Ten years ago he decided that sleep apnea wouldn’t stop him from enjoying his four grandchildren, his exercise regimen, his personal training, judging professional IFBB bodybuilding competitions around the world, or running his five Planet Fitness centers near his Connecticut home. An early advocate of the Special Olympics, Katz was a public high school health education teacher in which he earned advanced degrees.

If the name sounds familiar, Katz played for the N. Y Jets starring Joe Namath, was a former Mr. Olympia bodybuilding champ, and co-starred in the acclaimed mid-1970’s classic documentary Pumping Iron with his long-time friends Arnold Schwarzenegger (see photo) and Lou Ferrigno (‘The Incredible Hulk’). Katz is a client of National Sleep Therapy ( which provides his CPAP equipment that allows him to get the deep sleep his big frame needs.

“I was in my 50’s when a cardiologist discovered my atrial fibrillation,” recalls Katz. “The irregular heartbeat was either genetic or due to weight gain. By my early 60’s, I found that I was always tired and had less energy. The doctor recommended a sleep test at Gaylord Sleep Center in North Haven. I learned that though I was in bed for 8 hours each night, I wasn’t getting the deep sleep I needed. I was having almost 50 apnea episodes per hour and my oxygen levels were dropping dramatically.”

“I was getting depressed. While my buddies were having fun at the casino, I was looking for a place to nap,” says Katz. “Sleep apnea sapped my energy and stopped me from doing fun things -- playing with my grandchildren, working out, staying awake at the movies. I knew it was serious when my wife began sleeping in another room due to my snoring.”

“When I first got my CPAP, it took a few tries to find a mask that was comfortable,” he says. “My advice: Be patient, try again. The results will be extraordinary. A dramatically improved quality of life will be worth the small effort it takes.” Katz maintains an active schedule, follows his Planet Fitness exercise regimen, and swears by a Qivana nutritional program.

Just before Thanksgiving, Katz’s CPAP device stopped working. Most of National Sleep Therapy’s staff was gone for the holiday weekend, but Eric Cohen, NST co-founder and president, fielded Katz’s call. Cohen arranged for a new machine in one day without any paperwork. Katz says, “Great customer service – and I really appreciated it since I didn’t miss that good night’s sleep that I depend on so much.”

The next day, fully rested Katz was up early, touring his fitness centers, now run by his son, Mike, Jr. “I’d rather count money than sheep,” he smiles. “Most important, I don’t want to sleep through my grandkids’ childhood – waking up when they’re 16, wondering where the time went.”

National Sleep Therapy has earned a reputation as an industry pioneer. NST sponsors a monthly free virtual support group for people with sleep apnea and healthcare pros ( ), and offers live video support by appointment for patients. The company made the ‘Inc. 5000’ list as ‘One of Fastest-Growing Private U.S. Companies.’ For more information, contact 888.867.8840 or

-Stanley Hurwitz / (508) 269-0570 /


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