I LOVE TO SLEEP
Let me preface this by saying I love to sleep! Love it. LOVE IT! I look forward to going to sleep every single day. Ever since junior/senior high school I remember taking naps after school on the sofa with my dog. I would sleep from about 3:30 p.m. till 5:00 p.m. or until my mom would come home and make me unload/load the dishwasher. Maybe that’s why I hate doing the dishes. NAPS > DISHES.
To this day I look forward to any afternoon naps I can squeeze into my daily routine. The United States really needs to start embracing this “siesta” phenomenon.
MY BACKGROUND: An Inside Look at My Sleep History and Troubles
I have previously been prescribed Trazadone (25mg – 100mg) for at least four + years to help me sleep through the night but it always made me so groggy in the morning. I struggled getting out of bed every morning when I would take it. With my doctor’s assistance we gradually decreased my nightly sleep medicine until I was off of it completely. I felt more fabulous in the morning and getting up was not half the battle it used to be. However, I didn’t sleep soundly during the night and I frequently woke up.
What is my problem? How can I go to bed at 11:00 a.m. and wake up at 7:00.a.m. and still want to take a nap every day after work? Was it because I allow my three small dogs to sleep next to me on the covers? That might have something to do with it but maybe that wasn’t everything. So I started to embrace the healthy sleep hygiene practices I have been reading so much about sleep hygiene. I started going to bed at the same time every night, I made sure to turn off the TV. before I went to sleep, I continued washing my face and brushing my teeth before bed, I tried putting my phone down before bed, etc. and then I was offered the opportunity to have a sleep study conducted. YES! Of course I obliged, who doesn’t want the potential to have a good solid night’s rest?
MY SLEEP STUDY: From Start to Finish
Before my sleep study I made sure not to take my normal daily nap (that was tough), drink coffee late into the day (not as tough) and that I wasn’t suffering from a cold of any type (my allergies have been acting up). I did not want anything to effective my sleep and/or my study results. Because let’s face it, I didn’t want to receive an inconclusive test and have to schedule another sleep study if I could avoid it. I’m lazy like that. The rest of my day proceeded as normal. I packed up my favorite pillow and toiletries and off I went to the sleep clinic.
8:00 PM: Arrival and Walkthrough
I was asked to arrive at 8:00 p.m for my polysomnogram (PSG) sleep test. I rang the buzzer and was greeted at the door by my night sleep technician, Penny. She showed me to my room and allowed me some time to get situated and comfortable. I brought in my completed patient packet that I downloaded previously. I was able to complete it in the convenience of my own home, which was a nice change from the seemingly endless questionnaire pages attached to a clipboard while someone impatiently waits for you to finish (not that Penny would do that). She did hand me an additional questionnaire about my sleep habits for that same day but it was really brief with about 12 questions on it. completed that, got in my PJs, took my normal regimen of daily medicine and was ready to get hooked up.
9:15 PM: Getting hooked up to the monitoring equipment
I turned the television set to the forensic files channel (which could explain the dreams I had later that night) and Penny hooked me up for the next hour. Yes, getting properly set up takes about an hour but nothing about this process hurts. During that time she explained what each cord did and why it was important. After she was done I looked like this , I had:
- 10-15 electrodes on my face and scalp to measure my
eye, chin, and brain movements.
- 2 patches on my legs, near my calves, which were attached to two wires that ran up underneath my clothing, all the way up to my shoulders.I suggest wearing loose fitting pajama pants or shorts for bed and getting a fresh shave on your legs if you are woman, something I may have overlooked that morning (Sorry Penny).
- 1 snore microphone electrode was attached to my throat to record vibrations cause by snoring.
- 2 belts around my abdomen and under my chest to measure respiratory breathing and sleeping positions.
- 1 pulse oximeter, or as I call it the finger thingy, which measures the percentage of oxygen attached to red blood cells
- 1 nose apparatus, which is a pressure transducer and nose thermaster which measures air flow and nose versus mouth breathing.
10:30 PM: Getting to Sleep
Penny told me to call for her when I was ready to start the sleep study. I was really tired so it only took about 15 minutes of me laying in bed watching forensic files for me to notice I was about to fall asleep. I said “Penny” and over an intercom by the bed she asked what I needed. I said “I’m ready, let’s do this”! She came in and set me up with the nose apparatus and left again. Over the intercom she asked that I do some exercises. She had me do things like lift each leg, cough, take a deep breath, blink five times, move my eyes to the left, to the right, etc. After about 5-10 minutes of getting comfortable and doing my nightly routine of deep breathing exercises and thinking about nothing…I was asleep.
SOMETIME IN THE AM: A Nocturnal Awakening
I’m frantically running through these red stalagmite caves in India with a childhood friend of mine. We were being chased by a group of 4-5 men, I can’t remember who they were or why they were chasing us but I remember running. I remember tripping and my friend rushing over to help me up and then BOOM! I woke up. All dramatically too like in the movies, I sat up gasping for air. I was sweating and terribly uncomfortable. I realized I was at my sleep study so I kicked off all my heavy comforters and blankets and worked on getting situated again. The upper belt under my chest and I were about to rumble. After about 5 minutes I was finally able to get comfortable, made sure nothing was tugging or pulling in any direction I was off to sleep again.
5:15 AM: My Sleep Study Concludes
Penny came in and woke me up to tell me my sleep study was complete. She unplugged everything and I was left to take off the rest of the electrodes. The sleep clinic has a shower if you want to go straight to work or school after the study, however I just wanted to go back home to sleep in my own bed. I went into the bathroom to wipe the electrode goop off, packed my belongings up, put on my sweatpants, and I was off on my way home (to my dogs). Overnight In-Lab Sleep Study was complete.
If you made it to the end of this post, bravo to you! Next week, I will discuss in detail my exact results I received from the Alaska Sleep Clinic’s Board Certified Sleep Doctor. “Prognosis negative” – Seinfeld reference.
The Alaska Sleep Clinic specializes in diagnosing and treating a variety of sleep disorders. If you live in Alaska and are ready to get your sleep disorder under control, sign up for a sleep study today by clicking the link below and take the first step towards more fulfilling sleep.