My In-Lab Sleep Study Experience

I recently participated in an in-lab sleep study through the Cleveland Clinic as part of my medical clearance for bariatric surgery. I had previously gone to my GP asking for a possible sleep study due to constant fatigue, but I hadn’t scored high enough on the fatigue scale to get a referral. My bariatric program has different criteria they follow, and I met all of them pretty much, outside of age and being female instead of male. The criteria that got me signed up for one was:

  • History of fatigue
  • Hypertension
  • Snoring
  • Neck measurement over 17 inches

So a couple weekends ago I finally went in. Being the medical nerd I am I did a lot of reading and research prior, so I’d have some idea what I was getting myself into. I got there around 7:30 pm. I had to fill out a few questionnaires and medical history information. Prior to getting there, I’d also had to keep a 2-week sleep diary noting times I went to bed, got up, if I got up in the middle of the night, and how well I felt I slept. Once I had everything turned in and filled out I watched tv for about an hour before the real fun began.

Around 9, the sleep technician came in to start hooking me up to everything. I had electrodes placed throughout my head, face, arms, chest, and legs. I also had a nasal cannula and breath monitoring device added to my nose and across my mouth. Once I laid down I also had a pulse oximeter placed on my finger. Once everything was in place and I was settled in, it was just a bit past 10 and around my normal bedtime. The sleep technician left the room and then came over a speaker asking me to move my arms, legs, stomach, chest, breathe deeply and hold my breath to test everything was setup and working properly.  Once it was assured it was, it was now time to sleep.

During my research, I’d read how uncomfortable everything would be and how impossible it would be to fall asleep. While it was annoying, I didn’t really have much of an issue falling asleep. So that was a bonus.

I’d been warned while being hooked up that there was a chance if I showed signs of apnea, I would be woken up during the test to have a mask placed and hooked up to a CPAP. Sure enough, sometime after midnight I was awoken and asked to put a mask on. Once we had a mask placed and I was breathing fine with the CPAP I was allowed to go back to sleep. I was told that he would be in and out throughout the night possibly, adjusting settings on the machine. After he left though I promptly fell back asleep and didn’t wake up until they woke me around 6 am.

After they got everything off of me, I was asked to complete a survey, asking me questions about how rested I felt, did the machine bother me, etc? My overall take on the entire experience was fairly positive despite my original apprehension on how difficult a sleep study can be. For me, it was annoying but overall very manageable. I didn’t have a big issue getting comfortable or falling asleep. The mask was not an issue, and upon waking up I felt more rested than I have in years.

Next steps will be my formal results, a visit with neurology, and the ordering of a CPAP machine. Hopefully the at-home machine I end up with will help as much as the one in-lab did.

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