Posts tagged ‘sleep lab’
By: Holly Green
Whew! It’s been a long day. There is something about having to sleep twenty minutes and stay up for an hour and a half, when you
just get to sleep at the very end of each time. It feels like some sort of torture on my body but I cannot put a finger on it. I would rather have this torture than many others. My body feels beat but I cannot sleep. My last test at the sleep lab did not show anything new. Aaron said that if I fell asleep and went straight into stage 3-REM sleep, I would need to stay for another test but if not, it was my last. I think I remember one of the guys telling me that if you go straight into REM sleep, you have narcolepsy. I could be wrong but obviously, I don’t go straight into REM in a twenty-minute nap.
I did the same thing I had been doing-waking up for no reason. I remember seeing this on a TV show, where a specific spot on a person’s brain lit up if they were aroused from their sleep. I was more aware of it the last time, I think because I was trying very hard to go to sleep but every time I would start to, something would wake me up. I’m not sure what. That could be because I’m so tired. I do remember, though, starting to get into a sleep and getting so relaxed that I exhaled and did not inhale-I think. I was not noisily gasping for air but I think I had stopped breathing. I don’t know. That’s what the doctor is for.
I finally felt like walking around for a few minutes before my last test and found I could not communicate orally very well, either. Aaron asked me about my blog and I was trying to explain how I broke it up into parts today-I had some trouble. I felt bad when I told him how I was showing how tired I was getting and he, “Aww”ed me. It did not occur to me that he might feel bad. So, I tried to change the subject, of course, on a good string of a sentence-then, forgot what I was saying. Aaron helped me remember by repeating his question and it jogged my memory. Don’t you hate that?
Aaron turned out to be just as nice as William was. I couldn’t even think to yell at him at certain times that I may have wanted to but I would not have if I had thought to. Does that make sense? Anyway, for example, every time he woke me up from a nap, he turned on ALL of the lights AND the TV. The only thing I could do was make a face. I’m not sure if he saw it.
It was nice to have a TV in my room again, the room I stayed in was just as nice as the other one. Evidently, I lucked out because they have another sleep lab on the first floor of the building, with the same number of rooms but only two bathrooms. I would have hated that. They have another lab in Centreville, VA-that one being the nicest-set up like a hotel with fourteen rooms. I’d love to see that.
Ist Class Sleep Diagnostic Center has locations in Lansdowne, Centreville, Fairfax, Vienna, Gainesville and Springfield.
Here is the website if anyone is interested: http://www.1stclasssleepcenter.com/
Aaron woke me up about an hour ago but he was going to go get lunch for us at Wendy’s and he said I could sleep while he was gone-Yes! Although, I’m not sure how much I slept. I just finished eating and can hardly explain how I feel. Part of me feels less sleepy and pat of me feels more sleepy. How’s that for an explanation?
He keeps asking me how I feel when I go to sleep and when he wakes me up. Before I took this last nap, when I told him, “tired”, he rubbed my arm a little. That was nice. He said I had a lot of “spontaneous arousals”, like I mentioned in part I, where I would just wake up for no reason. He said he got to looking at the medicine I take and that maybe it is causing me to wake up constantly. What’s weird is I only remember a few times. He asked me how I thought I slept and I said I kept waking up, whether jerking awake or a sound waking me up. Anyway, I take antidepressants and those might be interfering with my sleep. They can also keep you from reaching stages 4 and 5 of sleep-the deepest sleep you have at night.
I have a crick in my neck, that I woke up with this morning and it barely bothered me at the time; however, the more naps I take, the worse it gets. I brought my own pillows-I don’t know why it would do this. C’est la vie!
I forgot to mention that I have not had to wear all 19 wires today. William took them off of me this morning, except for the ones on my head-which I barely feel. I can’t wait to wash the gel out of my hair-it was quite a job getting it out.
I am sooooo tired. It doesn’t feel like 11:00 a.m. but it is. I’m not sure what time if feels like. I just know I am tired.
Aaron said it took me more than twenty minutes to fall asleep for this past nap. I’d hardly call it a nap. I think he let me sleep fifteen to twenty minutes-or is that even right? He turns on the lights and the TV before he leaves the room every time he wakes me up. Before I went to sleep, I was feeling more awake than when I first woke up. Now, I just feel groggy again.
I think there is something about having to sleep on command. I love to sleep and I do not know how long it takes me to fall asleep normally. Knowing someone is watching you sleep is weird, though. I never thought I would have trouble going to sleep but I have actually found a situation that has made it hard. Not to mention, sleeping in a strange bed.
Sunday, I felt really tired and groggy. I missed church and slept until 2p.m. Hopefully, we’ll find out why I feel like this, sometimes.
Aaron said I could walk around but I am so tired. Then again, I look like a hermit. Maybe I’ll walk around later. I think I am pretty much worthless, today, except for my blog. 🙂 Oops, I meant useless.
Last night, I spent the night in the sleep lab, 1st Class Sleep Studies, again. I had William as my technician again, so I was happy about that because he was a familiar face and because he was nice. I did feel more comfortable knowing he would be with me all night instead of having to get to know someone else.
It was the same drill and I had six hours of sleep. I got there about 9 p.m., and around 9:40 William came in to attach the wires on me. I told him that I had the most trouble with the wires in my nose, so, he asked his supervisor and took away one of them. Yay! Sort of. It did feel a little more comfortable and did not itch, this time.
I am soooo tired, right now. It is almost 9 a.m. but William woke me up at 5:45 a.m. and I was to stay up for two hours. They fed me breakfast an told me to try to stay awake by watching TV, reading a book, etc. The TV show, Angel was on and it kept my attention. I had seen a few reruns of this show, so I kind of knew what it was about. The first episode was a little humorous and that helped to wake me up.
I am still here because they are doing a day study, too. If this post does not make any sense, that shows how tired I am. Anyway, they are having me sleep in twenty minute intervals and stay up for about two hours. We will do this until about 2-4 p.m. This is supposed to test for insomnia, narcelepsy and some other sleep disorders, one where you are tired all the time. Now, that one seems to be me.
I think I might do this post in intervals, too. Does that make sense? Right now, I am watching The Golden Girls on TV. I love this show-the different personalities, airhead Rose, slutty Blanche, sarcastic Dorothy and blunt Sophia. Wow! I am talking about nothing, aren’t I? Wow, I just described Seinfeld. See what I mean? I can’t believe I am actually able to type anything.
William said I had several episodes of sleep apnea during the night. He also said my snoring was considerably louder, this time, since I slept so much longer. He asked me how I thought I slept last night and I said I thought I slept pretty well. Last night, he told me some people say that when they did not know they woke up many times or did not make it past the first stage of sleep. William said I did sleep a lot better than last time.
I now have Aaron, William’s supervisor watching over me today. He’s petty nice also. I think I am running out of things to say.
Friday, I took my daughter, Stephanie to a neurologist because of an ongoing migraine she has had for three weeks. She was hit by a car when she was three and had two layers of twelve stitches sewn onto her forehead, right above the eyebrow. Since then, she gets migraines from time to time and they go away after a day. Since this one wasn’t going away, I took her to the doctor, who referred her to the neurologist.
I thought we were going there so he could examine her but well, that sort of happened. He examined her and asked about her history. When he found out that my dad has sleep apnea and that my husband thinks I might have it too, I got on the table for an examination. He said if I have sleep apnea, she might also. He then called up the sleep lab right there, and I gave them my information over the phone. They had an opening for that night, so I thought, “why not?”
I came home and packed a bag, drank a Dr. Pepper with dinner, not thinking about it. Then I read on the info packet not to have any caffeine after noon. Uh oh. I went anyway, with a headache that started after I ate some chocolate that afternoon, thinking the Dr. Pepper would make it go away, since caffeine usually does. Not this time. I couldn’t take any pain medication because they want the patient, ( that’s what they call you when you’re in there), to be at their most natural state-not drugged up.
I didn’t know what to expect. I had done some research on sleep a few years ago and thought it would be fascinating to stay at a sleep lab but didn’t think I would end up as a patient there. I pictured one of those “Twilight Zone” shows where the person is in a huge room with a hospital bed in the middle and a big glass wall to their right. Not At All.
When I arrived, I was trying to find the right office, and looked past one with the lights on. Noticing that all the others were dark, I remembered, “Duh! It is 9:30 at night. I am looking for the one with the lights on.”
We get used to going to doctor appointments during the day and seeing all the offices with their lights on. It took a second to click with me that it wasn’t day.
When I walked in, I was amazed. The place was gorgeous! Large paintings on the walls in high quality gold frames, low couches to sit on, with a coffee table in the center, wood floors. My guess is this room is supposed to calm you. I was calmed a little bit.
My room was an actual bedroom. Wood floors, curtains on the windows, a king-size bed and a TV. An adjoining bathroom was decorated with a southern classic look-very cute. It almost reminded me of a small hotel room. Nonetheless, it reminded me of a time when I was pregnant with my first child and took a tour of the Birthing Center at the hospital. The rooms were so nice, with wood floors and curtains on the windows. It scared me because I knew if the rooms were this fancy, the experience would be that bad.
William was my technician for the night. He let me get changed into my nightgown and get ready for bed-I was glad I got to wear my own bedclothes for better comfort. The bed was so tall and I’m so short, ( 5′ 3/4″ ) that I had to climb into it-literally. It was a sleigh bed made of dark wood.
William then came in and hooked me up to 19 wires. Yep, 19. Some of them were all over my head, held on by a gooey paste, two behind each ear, two on my chest, four or five on each leg, a belt around my chest and a belt around my stomach. Oh yeah! I forgot the last two-two up my nose-he said they would be itchy and tickly- he was right. One time during the night, I had to sneeze and was like, “Oh man! What if I knock these things out?” Well, evidently someone thought of that when they designed it because not even a sneeze can force those things out.
The first three hours, I kept waking up and did not even get to the REM stage-stage 3. I finally sat up in bed, trying to rub my head. I didn’t have to push the call button. After a few minutes, William came in and asked if I was OK. He let me take Advil, since, “It’s just Advil,” He said.
After that, I was able to relax and get into a good sleep. I was supposed to let him know when I had to go to the bathroom, so he could unhook the wires from the machine. I felt like a kid. I think I got up twice, the second time, I took a long time to get back to sleep-I think he said twenty minutes. The second time he came in to unhook me, he said, “Well, it’s 3:30. You didn’t get to sleep until 2 because up until then, you kept waking up. You would get into a good sleep and just wake up. You’ve only had one REM stage and that was twenty minutes long.”
I woke up again at 6 something and he told me it was almost over and that I had not made it to stage 3 again. He said he would wake me up last and I had about one more hour to try to sleep well. Every time he left the room, he said, “Try your best,” and I did but it’s really hard to sleep with nineteen wires on you and in an unfamiliar room. Not to mention, those annoying wires up my nose. Let’s not forget the fact that someone was watching me sleep and watching my every move. Who can sleep with that?!
William came in about an hour later and told me that I had another REM stage but it did not last for very long. He said they might record this night as “insufficient data”, which would mean I would have to come in again. William said if I did have to, to try to get as tired as possible.
“I want to come in again,” I told him. “I want you to get an accurate reading and maybe I’ll be more comfortable the next time.”
So, guess what? Fred from the sleep lab called while was typing out this post and said that I need to come back for another night. Since I only slept half the night, they only have half the data they need. I only made it to stage 3 of sleep and there are 5 stages, the deepest sleep. I did have several sleep apnea episodes. The longest I held my breath was twenty-two seconds. On average, it was about eighteen seconds at a time. My oxygen level was supposed to be no lower than 93%. When I was sleeping, it was 94%. During a sleep apnea episode, it went down to 90%. Fred said that a person’s heart has to work a lot harder when they are holding their breath and long term it can cause cardiac arrest, stroke or high blood pressure.
Next time, they want me to stay until 2:00 in the afternoon because they want to test not only for sleep apnea but also narcolepsy and insomnia-which I would be surprised if I have either of those because I am tired often and always trying to catch up on my sleep. I love to sleep-I just wake up in the morning feeling like I closed my eyes but did not get any rest. Maybe by the end of this, I’ll know why.