I thought you were supposed to “sleep” in a “sleep study?”

Last week, I had one of the worst nights of sleep I have had in a LONG time. As one of the many required doctor visits and tests I have to complete before I can be considered as a candidate for gastric sleeve surgery (which is also abbreviated as VSG for “vertical sleeve gastrectomy”), I had to complete a sleep study to determine if I have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is apparently very common, and more common in people who are overweight. “They” say that if you have untreated OSA, it can actually *cause* weight gain, due to continually interrupted sleep, and also from not getting enough oxygen throughout the night.

Some background: I did a sleep study 2 years ago, when I was originally entertaining the idea of weight loss surgery. I got the heebie jeebies from the moment I entered the sleep center’s building at 9pm. The “technician” conducting my sleep study was a male, and smelled like smoke. I was ushered to a room with all sorts of machines and wires, and a very obvious camera pointing at the bed.  Long story short, that sleep center diagnosed me with “severe” sleep apnea and required me to use a CPAP machine.

Suffice it to say, the CPAP machine is NOT COOL. It sent me into a panic almost every time I put it on because it covered my nose and mouth, and basically shoots air into your mouth and nose all night long with varying pressures. That doesn’t make *getting* to sleep easy, much less *staying* asleep. The best way to keep the mask on was to sleep on my back. (I am a stomach sleeper, and sometimes a side-sleeper IF it doesn’t tear up my shoulder joint or make both my arms fall asleep. Which happens a lot, so we’ll just say I’m a stomach sleeper.) On my back made it difficult to fall asleep, and it made me wake up with all sorts of aches and pains no matter how many pillows I had surrounding me. Then, to add insult to injury, I got sinus infection after sinus infection when I would wear the CPAP machine on a regular basis. After a few months, I gave up. I didn’t feel like I was sleeping any better at all – in fact, I felt worse because I was sick with sinus issues all the time. And let’s not mention how tore-up my blood sugars were, due to continual sinus infections. Those were my worst A1C’s in that time frame than I had had in a LONG time.

When I went to the new bariatric surgeon and talked about it, I asked if I could please use a dental device for OSA treatment instead of the CPAP machine. That’s why he signed me up for yet another sleep study – hopefully to assess if I could use the dental device effectively to treat my OSA.

Once again, I went into the sleep study lab (a different one this time), and got the heebie jeebies. The man who was the technician was nice enough, but he was trying to make jokes that just weren’t funny. Like: “Feel free to change into your pajamas in the room, but I would suggest you go into the bathroom across the hall, unless you are an exhibitionist,” and he nodded up at the camera pointed towards the bed. Ewwww.2014-01-16_SleepStudy01

The bed was the most uncomfortable-looking thing I have seen in a while. The technician gave me the 6 pillows I requested, hooked me up to a boat-load of wires and things on my head, face, chest, legs, and also to a pulse ox finger monitor. I was not allowed to bring my own pillow, blankets, or sleep on my stomach. I just don’t get it – how are they supposed to truly “study” how you sleep, if they don’t let you actually sleep the way you normally do??? On top of all that uncomfortable-ness, you know someone is watching you all night. It totally creeped me out.I always feel like somebody's watching me....

I was finally left to my own devices around 10:30pm, alone in my room, so I called my husband to say goodnight, and read some of my book club book (Firefly Lane - a good beach read/chick lit/ tear jerker.) The nightstand – that I could barely reach with all the wires attached to me from the OTHER side of the bed – held my phone, my CGM, my finger-stick meter case, a juice box, and a granola bar for just-in-case. I was running a smidge on the high blood sugar side (130-140s), but I really think half of it was due to my emotional state. I was so stressed out about this whole deal, it was 11:30pm by the time I turned the lights off. Then I laid in bed for an hour. Then I pulled off the pulse ox monitor to signal to the technician to come in my room (I had to go to the bathroom.) He came in, unhooked me, I carried along the 8 billion set of wires with me to the restroom, came back, he hooked me back up, and it was off to try to sleep again. I think I laid in bed for yet another hour trying to wind down, but all I could hear was the roaring freight-train-snoring-guy in the room next to me. Seriously, it’s a SLEEP LAB – shouldn’t the rooms be a little more sound proof?

At 4am I woke up and needed to change positions, but couldn’t because the wire from the pulse ox monitor wouldn’t reach, so I signaled the technician again, he came in and changed it, and I said, “Can this be over yet?” And he replied, “No, we still need about 45 minutes worth of data.” Grrrr.

6am finally arrived, the technician came in to wake me up and I got dressed and hauled it out of there as soon as I could. Ironically, I was wide awake, even though I despise getting up at 6am and was running on minimal sleep. Since I was already on that side of town, and hadn’t eaten since 9pm the night before, I stopped by the hospital where I needed to go at some point anyway to get fasting bloodwork done, with orders in hand from my bariatric surgeon. Their lab opened at 7am, and a very nice phlebotomist lady ended up letting me in early at 6:30am so I didn’t even have to wait very long. Even though it was the worst night of non-sleep and I was running on empty the whole next day, I got two things checked off my huge list of stuff-to-get-done-before-I-can-even-do-this-surgery. Win!

6 thoughts on “I thought you were supposed to “sleep” in a “sleep study?”

  1. What a crazy night!!!! I would never be able to sleep under those conditions!! At least you got those 2 things checked off your to do list!

  2. this is painfully hilarious.

    i can’t believe you could HEAR the dude in the next room!

    i have been pushing my husband to go have a sleep study. i think he has sleep apnea. at the very least, he snores and must be punished!

    congratulations on finishing two of the tasks. wahoooo!

    • My husband also has sleep apnea/ snoring like a freight train at times. You’d think I would be used to it? But the key is, as long as I get to sleep BEFORE the snoring starts, I can manage to sleep through it the rest of the night. But if I wake up in the middle of the night and he’s hammering away at the snore-drum, I can’t help but focus on that and stay awake. We *should* devise some sort of punishment for them! (Making them take an awful sleep study would be a good start.)

  3. You mean you’re NOT supposed to snore like a freight train? I’ve been doing it wrong all these years!

    Congrats on knocking two things off of your list.

  4. I am also a type 1, and I had my first sleep study done last Wednesday. I had to laugh reading your experience, mine was very similar, right down to not getting much sleep. The woman in the next room was talking loudly non-stop to her technician until about 10:30, but at least I didn’t hear her snore. What with tossing and turning and trying to get comfortable I didn’t get to sleep until after 2:30, and woke at 5:45, and I also high tailed it out of there. They didn’t mention a camera, and I didn’t see one; kinda late now to worry about what they might have seen.

  5. Pingback: Good Grief! Another Device to Wear at Night?! | Test Guess and Go

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