My Visit to a Sleep Clinic - Overnight Sleep Study

July 10, 2009 · 8 comments

I don’t recall being a snorer when I was a normal weight. As I gained weight my snoring got worse and to the point where it really has effected my quality of life the last couple of years. It’s not just the snoring, it’s the tossing and turning, the waking in the middle of the night and the overall impact all of that had on my wife’s sleep - not to mention the wear and tear on the couch!

Over the last couple of years I have been reading a little about sleep apnea and have taken a few online quizzes that ask question likes “do you ever feel yourself unable to breath at night”, “are you sleepy during the day even after a long night sleep”, etc. Almost invariably my answers to these questions were YES, YES and YES.

I started thinking about it a little more last year when someone who worked for me went through a sleep study and was diagnosed with sleep apnea. He spoke highly of how much better he felt once he was put on a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine that allows for a restful sleep.

Lately I’ve been hearing ads on the radio for a sleep center and I finally bit the bullet during my annual physical, and talked to my doctor about what I thought I had. He concurred and referred me to a specialist.

Yesterday afternoon I met with the specialist, which really amounted to nothing more than watching a little video on sleep apnea and what I could expect by visiting a sleep clinic for an overnight observation, and going over a survey that I completed. At the conclusion of that meeting we setup an overnight sleep study, where coincidentally enough the first opening was that night!

So last night I packed up an overnight bag and headed over to the sleep clinic, which was a nice new building with what appeared to be pretty good security. I met the technician at the front desk, went through some paperwork and then was shown to my room, which was a very nice hotel-style room with private toilet and shower, tv and a wonderful Sleep Number bed. It also had a bedside CPAP machine all setup.

Once I got into my PJs (they don’t allow just undergarments so I just wore shorts and a t-shirt) she started to get me all wired up. She must have applied 20 sensors to various parts of my body. I counted 12 on my head alone. Once I got all wired up we went back to the room and she tested the CPAP machine on me but we started off without it. She would put that on me in the middle of the night if I needed it.

I had to wait for awhile until she got another patient wired up and I started to get pretty sleepy just reading a book. Finally, just when I thought I might fall asleep before it was time, she came in to finish her work, which was to get all my sensors and wires hooked up to the machine and test from her control station (there was a camera videotaping me) that all the sensors were working.

Once everything was working she wished me good night and I no doubt fell asleep right away, which is another sleep apnea M.O.

I didn’t see her again until sometime in the middle of the night when she put the CPAP nosepiece on me so that I was getting oxygen from the machine. She had to come in a couple of times during the night to adjust some sensors but that’s all I really remember.

In the morning we had to walk through all the tests again, I guess to make sure the equipment was working normally, and then I got unwired, cleaned off, fed, and waited for the doctor to talk to me about the initial results.

All in all it was a pretty uneventful night, and not much different than staying at a nice clean hotel, albeit without most of the amenities. If you are nervous about going to a sleep study, don’t be - it was a piece of cake and it could save your life!

Want to know how it turned out? You’ll have to tune in tomorrow - I’m saving that up for another post. (and here it is: Results of my Sleep Study)

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Greg at Live Fit July 10, 2009 at 9:00 pm

I have several friends that wear c-paps. They always come in with marks from the mask on their faces, so its a running joke. But it seems to have provided a huge improvement in their quality of life.

yobigmike July 11, 2009 at 2:19 am

You know, this is a coincidence. I work in a hospital and the Sleep lab is right above where I work. I always see the tech take patients upstairs and usually, clients arrive in their pj’s and have their own pillow. I always wanted to ask the tech about what are the common symptoms of most patients that come through. I also have problems sleeping and snore heavily. I think I’m gonna have to consult with my doctor. thanks for sharing your story.

Please do it, sounds like it would be very convenient for you too!

Jenks July 11, 2009 at 11:30 am

I’m gonna have to share this with the hubby.

Teresa July 11, 2009 at 11:31 am

I’ll be interested to know how your tests turned out. My mother was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 1988. I am grateful everyday for that diagnosis because I know she was knocking at death’s door when she went in for that test. I’m amazed at the difference the oxygen concentrator and CPap have made for her. I can tell when her machines aren’t working because of how she looks on a night when she doesn’t get enough oxygen. I hope you don’t have to deal with all of that but if you do, I’m sure you’ll see a lot of improvement in your well-being after you receive appropriate treatment. Good luck!

Thanks Teresa. I’m bummed that I have sleep apnea but excited to get to work on treatment and feeling the difference it should make.

Hanlie July 11, 2009 at 3:10 pm

My husband almost broke up with me at the start of our relationship because of my snoring. It was touch and go! But he really liked me (of course!), so he persevered and got used to it.

Then the most amazing thing happened - my snoring got softer and softer. What prompted this? Quitting smoking, exercising and adopting a whole foods, predominantly plant-based diet which is also mostly alcohol, gluten- and dairy-free. These days we both just purr…

I don’t know if I’d be able to sleep in a sleep lab. Besides, I get up about 3 times per night to go to the bathroom!

Can’t wait to hear the results.

I’m hoping I can have a similar end - where I lose weight, get in shape and no longer need the CPAP mask. As for the sleep study, while I don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom they did make it clear that should I need to that they would be able to accommodate that.

Rooster July 11, 2009 at 7:44 pm

“clients arrive in their pj’s and have their own pillow”

What the heck is that all about? No wonder people fear sleep studies if they think you have to arrive in pajamas. You take a little bag with you that has your pajamas in it! You change in private in your assigned bedroom!

I can’t explain why people would arrive in their PJs but I will say that one of the instructions I was given was to “bring my favorite pillow.” Now, I was pretty sure they would have pillows so I didn’t bring one, but I could see why people would.

Merry July 11, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Oh you tease.
What’s the final answer from the lab???
Enquiring (i.e. nosy) minds want to know!

Wasn’t meant to be a tease just knew it would be too much for one post! See results of my sleep study.

Jonathan Aluzas July 13, 2009 at 3:52 pm

I’ve done the sleep clinic, too. I’m a miserable sleeper; I wake up repeatedly in the night. So, I finally decided to go and, wouldn’t you know it, I never fell asleep (until after the CPAP was strapped on). I was diagnosed somehow with a moderate case of sleep apnea (though I don’t know how if they didn’t have data of me sleeping before I put on the CPAP) and given the Darth Vader mask. I was never able to fall asleep with it on so I abandoned it, and later showed my sleep study data to a client who is a pulmonary doctor and he didn’t concur with the findings, so I have no idea where that leaves me….

I rarely have insomnia, don’t snore excessively, am not overweight, am in good physical condition, I just WAKE UP CONSTANTLY (not gasping for air, I just….wake up). My completely unsubstantiated amateur diagnosis: Stress sucks! And it makes your sleep suck, too.

So, I don’t take pills or use the machines, I’m just on a quest to learn to manage my stress more effectively. I hope your results are favorable or, at least, provide some answers and solutions.

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