I made it through my sleep study

September 17, 2017

I had about two months to wait before I could get in to have my sleep study done, and every time I thought about it I felt anxious.

I was so worried that I wouldn't sleep at all, and that the whole thing would be a waste. It's an expensive study, and we haven't met any of our health insurance deductible this year so it would be all out of pocket. What if I didn't sleep at all and they couldn't collect any data?

So I almost cancelled a couple times.

Especially since I feel pretty sure my sleep problems are related to depression and anxiety, and not to sleep apnea or something else. But my doctor wanted to double check.

I'm very thankful to report that I did sleep. Very fitfully.  

I had 16 electrodes stuck to my head and the side of my face, two more on my legs, and a blood oxygen monitor on my left index finger. I had a strap around my chest and another around my waist. There was a sensor under my nose that would indicate whether I was breathing through my mouth or nose. They were measuring eye movement, leg movement, whether or not I stopped breathing, and not sure what all else.

I was hooked up to these.
I tend to toss and turn from side to side so it was a trick with all those wires.

There was a camera aimed at my bed, and someone was watching me all night. That had to be boring for them but it was a little unsettling to me.

It makes me anxious just remembering this. Who could sleep?

I fell asleep about a half hour after lights out, and then jerked awake seconds later. And of course, I'm wondering, sleep apnea? Restless leg syndrome? Or just anxiety over the whole thing?

I would normally never fall asleep that soon, especially under such conditions. But I went and had a Chinese foot massage that evening just before going to the sleep clinic. I've had them a few times, and every time I've slept well. Hmm . . . .wouldn't it be great if I could get insurance coverage for that?!

I spent most of the night drifting in and out of sleep. Even though I didn't drink anything after 8 p.m. I had to call the nurse in to unhook me so I could go to the bathroom. All I had to do was speak in a normal voice from my bed, and she could hear me. All the lights went on when she came in, so after all that I was awake for quite a while.

I was told not to put my hands over the belts on my chest or waist and not to sleep on them. As I generally tuck my arms in front of me or sleep half on my stomach, I was worried I would cover them up, so I kept waking and adjusting myself into a sleep position so this wouldn't happen.

And in the morning.

Talk about a rough wakeup. The nurse opened the door, flipped on the overhead lights and began to unplug me from everything. Before I had a chance to even blink she had me over on a chair where she swabbed ice cold alcohol on the sticky glue holding all the electrodes on. Then she ripped the gauze off the sides of my face, literally peeling off the top layer of skin.

Good morning to you, too.

I took a picture of myself before I left, but I can't post it. My hair was a gelatinous mess from all the sticky goo they used. I couldn't even get a brush through it. I had lines and little circles all over the side of my face! Proof I guess that I'd been asleep.

Fortunately I was able to sneak out of the building under cover of some early morning fog.

 A hot cup of coffee and a shower at home and I was feeling a little better.

 Grateful it's over. I'll know the results in a couple days.


  1. What an interesting experience! After I graduated from university, I interviewed for a job at a sleep lab. But I decided that the nocturnal work hours weren't for me!

    Hope that the study will produce helpful results!

  2. That sounds pretty rough, I sure hope it gives you some answers that will help.

  3. Sounds awful! Wouldn't it be interesting if the lack of sleep is causing these other issues and not the other way around? Here's praying that it was a good test and that answers are obvious. How'd you sleep the next night?

    1. I had to edit this post a couple times to remove (most) of the whining!! It was rough. And I did sleep well the next night!

    2. As John would say, "Is telling the truth whining?"

  4. Just the thought of going through that would be incentive enough to roll over and pretend I'm asleep and that I'm getting 9 hours a night (although I am lucky to get 6.) :-) YIKES, girl!

  5. Wow. I would be also afraid of not sleeping. My husband had one and ended up sleeping too. You described it all so well. Loved your last line about slipping out under cover of fog! Hope the results are helpful to you or just plain "all OK."

  6. Oh, Deborah! That doesn't sound like a pleasant experience at all. Couldn't they do more to make it more pleasant, so people wouldn't dread it, so they would relax, so they would sleep better? Duh? Oh well. I think the hardest part for me would be knowing I was being watched. That would be UNNERVING. And having all the lights come on? That keeps my brain awake for a long time afterward. I'm very eager to know what they tell you!!! Congrats for surviving!

  7. I hope you get a good report back. My husband had one done and he didn't sleep that great either. I wouldn't want one done. All those wires would drive me crazy!

  8. Oh, what a dreadful experience. I do hope there's something to be discovered after all that. The wakeup seems most insensitive. You'd think the nurse would be a bit better trained.
    Now that it's behind you, you can relax.

  9. Dearest Deborah,
    Oh my, it kept you fretting about this sleep study for months and I guess you are a person that worries quickly. I'm like you, if there are mayor things on my mind, I'm tossing and sleeping very restless.
    What a rough treatment... Yikes!
    As for me, no way I could do such a sleep study as I need to go to the bathroom about every hour; due to my kidney condition. That also interrupts but at least I don't turn the full light on and drift off usually right away.
    Life is not easy and I sincerely hope it did give you some better insights!

  10. Quite the ordeal, but hopefully worth it in the end. Certainly like you eager to know the results. Have a good week.

  11. YIKES! That sounds so uncomfortable. Glad you made it through the ordeal.

    Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

  12. Ugh, Deborah, you poor thing! Seems like there'd be a little more compassion to the exit process of that whole thing! I'd be giving some feedback on that, no matter what your results are. I really hope you get some satisfactory results from this. I wouldn't have done well at all with that....I either sleep with my arms crossed in front of me or under my body, like fish position in yoga. And with all those wires, I'd be surprised if ANYBODY with sleep issues could undergo that. Kudos to you!

  13. I applaud you! I would never do this! I get up a few times using the night to go to the bathroom and I am always sipping water. I toss and turn because of arthritis and I would feel trapped. The nurse who woke you up could have been nicer, you think?

  14. I think I would rather do anything else in the world rather than go through one of these...so glad you got through it and hope for answers and treatment plan. I know I probably need one of these (and possibly a C-PAP) but I'm not ready for that yet...maybe when I'm 80...IF the possible sleep apnea doesn't kill me first! You are a real trooper, Deborah.

  15. Oh, dear Deborah, I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. I, too, had a sleep study done, but it was not nearly as awful. First of all, the room was much more inviting: more like a very nice hotel room. I brought my wave sound machine with me so that the familiar noise would help me sleep. I did have some trouble falling asleep, (at least it felt like I tossed and turned for quite a while, but my results showed differently). My morning was far less disruptive than yours, so I feel your experience was not the norm and should be reported! I found out I do have mild sleep apnea and am trying to struggle with adjusting to a CPAP machine, but it is a challenge. I'm sorry you had such an unpleasant time. It's stressful enough trying to find a solution to a sleep issue without the testing used to find the problem a stressor as well! Take care. Your followers are all in your corner hoping you can find some answers.

  16. Oh my goodnes, Deborah, what an ordeal! I don't know how you could sleep with all those wires. It doesn't sound like the nurse was very gentle at all. I do hope you get some helpful results from the study. However, that Chinese foot massage sounds so relaxing. I wish you could get that every night before bedtime. I'm proud of you for following through, my friend, and undergoing the study. Let us know the results. Love and blessings to you.

  17. I just was watching The Today Show and Savannah had her sleep monitored , but they used a Fit Bit on her. You might check it out online for any suggestions. It seems there's so many of us that get interrupted sleep.

  18. I am wondering how they can accurately analyze the results of a very NOT normal sleep experience. I hope your analysis comes back helpful. I don't think this sounds like fun at all, but I did enjoy your telling of it !

  19. I do hope that you get some answers after such an ordeal, dear Deborah! I can only imagine how uncomfortable it must have been hooked up to all those monitors and walking out with your hair all stuck in the air and your poor face all marked up. Sleep is so important and when you suffer from not enough, life can be miserable. Sending hugs xo Karen

  20. Hugs to you Deborah :) I'm a very light sleeper all the time, and doubt I could relax in such conditions. You've been very brave to hold onto the appointment to help sort things out with the doctor. Praying things work out for you.
    Wendy xox

  21. Oh my! I've heard the sleep studies are not fun, but your description, and the picture of the room, certainly makes it a very real ordeal to have to go through! And then certainly the rude awakening in the morning must have been horrible. I hope that because of it all that you will get some answers! Hugs :)

  22. My sweet Aunt had a sleep study not to long ago and she was so anxious over it but they did get to the root of her issue, sleep apnea. I cannot imagine not being able to sleep, so I do hope that they will get to the bottom of your issues and help you to get some restful sleep. I'll look forward to hearing about the results. Blessings!

  23. Those of us who suffer from Fibromyalgia know what it's like to be awakened by a pain or a sense of panic or something undefinable several times a night. I can't remember the last time I had a restful night's sleep. I've learned to live with it. The most restful part of the night for us usually comes in the early morning between 5:00 and 7:00 am. Of course, my husband snores like a rampaging freight train so that might have a little something to do with it, but don't they all after age 50???

    Look forward to hearing your results.

    Sleep tight.


  24. Oh my goodness that sounds like quite the ordeal!
    It will be interesting to find out the results...hope that you will share them with us.
    In the meantime I would opt for some form of foot massage every night before bed...even if you have to do it yourself!

  25. Ugh. Believe it or not I have had THREE of those, and I was just told I need another because I need a new machine. I am so sorry you had to go through this all - oh my gosh, the mess in my long fine hair was brutal.

    I need to read more to find out your results.

    Love ya lady. xxoo


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