Getting ready to go for a sleep study? Curious to know what you should do to prepare or even what will happen when you get there? To be honest, I can’t answer all of your questions but I have done one recently and like most people I was anxious because I didn’t know what to expect.
It’s only natural to be a bit anxious about doing a sleep study because you are hooked up to a bunch of wires and then asked to fall asleep. You may also worry that you won’t be able to sleep long enough to get a good reading. I have been told that an hour is good enough to get some type of information. Having a hard time falling asleep may deter you from wanting to get one done which is understandable, I know I wanted to skip mine. I did however go forward with it and had my boyfriend come stay with me for the night. I have generalized anxiety and worried for more than a month about it so I inquired if patients could have someone accompany them. It just so happened that they had a room set up with an extra bed for those who needed someone to stay with them for whatever reason. Thankfully it is not an uncommon request but the appointment was pushed back a bit for the accomodations.
So now on to what you can expect from a sleep study and how the whole process went for me. I got to the Sleep Clinic a bit early and was showed all the different areas. There where a bunch of bedrooms, a few bathrooms, a room in which the computers are and where they monitor you sleeping and of course the waiting room when you first get there. They will have you fill out a questionaire about your sleeping habits, if you consumed any caffeine products that day and few other little details that pertain to the upcoming sleep test. They took my height, weight, measured my neck and took my blood pressure (which was a bit high). I was asked at what time I would like to start falling asleep so that they could come an hour before hand to get me all ‘plugged’ up. They hooked up 4 or 5 wires to my head, back and front (in my fricking hair) using a water based paste (which was hell to take out). There was a wire hooked up to my throat for snoring , three on my shoulders for my heartbeat , 4 on my face for movements and 2 different things up my nose for inhaling and exhaling. There was also 4 wires attached to my calves , 2 per side which I don’t fully remember what their purpose was (it may have been to record movement).
Now onto the actual falling asleep. If you are a side sleeper like me you might think that it will interfere with the wires hooked up on your legs. I assure you that it’s not a problem at all except for that one point in the middle of the night after I had just gotten back from the washroom (which I will get to in a moment). Once ready for bed you may be asked to do some mini excersises to prepare for the reading. Stuff like blink, look left to right, pretend you are snoring, breathe deeply and hold your breath, etc. For some odd reason I was actually tired that night and thought I fell asleep almost right away, like maybe 10-15 minutes. I was told that wasn’t the case and it had taken just over an hour. I don’t know about you but I tend to wake up a few times during the night to go pee so I purposely didn’t drink water before going to bed so that I wouldn’t have to go. Guess what, I had to go and chances are you will too if you usually do at home. Now, I actually had to go a couple times but chose to hold it in because you have to let them know you need to use the bathroom so they can come in the room and unwire the main casing. I couldn’t hold it in this one time and said “I have to go to the bathroom” on the two way intercom so the gentleman could come let me go. Once I returned he asked if I could sleep on my back so that they could get a reading in that position as well. LOL yah right, good luck! Let’s just say after a while of trying I gave up and decided to move on my side once again, this is when the wires got a bit messed up on my legs. It took a minute to get them back in order but I was off to sleepy land in no time. I had some weird nightmares that seemed so real I actually asked if I was talking in my sleep and asking for help. Apparently not and I was told that I ended up on my back not long after I had tried to fall asleep that way. Oddly enough that is when I went into a deep sleep. Not going to lie but that made me laugh. 5:45 am came around and my name was being called on the bedroom intercom asking me to wake up and that we would be doing the same excersises I was asked to do before falling asleep. Once that is done it’s time to get unhooked and head on out. Results are sent directly to your doctor and will usually take 2 – 3 weeks as it is hundreds of pages of information to be looked over. That’s pretty much it.
It is important to note that most facilities have showers that are availible to use as did this one I just prefered not to use them. Should you choose to use them I would highly suggest bringing your own necessities such as flip flops, soaps, shampoos and towels. I personally chose to just throw my hair up in a bun and get out of there to go home and shower. Other things that you will have to bring with you aside from your toileteries are any medications that you are currently using and your most comfy sleep wear. It’s also a great idea to call ahead of time with any questions that you might have.
Again, Sleep studies might seem a bit weird to most, I mean, the thought of having a stranger watching you sleep is enough to scare anyone. Especially when it’s not in your own room or bed and with a bunch of wires attached to your head and face. Just look at it this way, one more night of a possible uncomfortable sleep may just change your entire life !
Good luck !!! Feel free to message me if you have any questions or even if you need a little pep talk to help get you motivated to get out and get it done.