Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Un-Sleep Clinic

For a number of years now, I've had trouble sleeping.

Not the relatively common sleep apnea, but something else.  Something strange that I couldn't identify.  Sleeping drugs helped, but always seem to leave me feeling groggy the next day.  I decided I needed to understand the root cause of the problem, and hopefully that will lead to some kind of improvement in my sleep.

You see, I can get to sleep without difficulty.  The issue is staying asleep.  This started years ago, and probably was the result of my preferred sleep position -- on my stomach with arms above my head.  I'd wake up during the night with an arm (or two) asleep or a sore back, then roll over.  Again and again.

Later, when I couldn't last long in this position (even though when first getting in it, it feels soooo good), I started sleeping on my sides.

A few months ago, I hurt my right shoulder (long story, but nothing terribly serious) and was left with only one side to sleep on.  During the night, however, I continued to rotate into one of the now several positions that leave me in pain in short order.  The number of times I was waking up has been increasing, quality of sleep is decreasing.

Eventually, I started wondering if there might be "something else" going on, hence my trip to the Sleep Clinic last night.

If you're already having trouble sleeping, the Sleep Clinic is definitely not someplace where you're going to do better than average.  In fact, my night's sleep was quite a bit worse.

I arrived at 8:40, at which time the technician told me they were having "computer problems" and the whole thing might have to be cancelled.  He asked me to hang loose, and he'd let me know in a little while.  So I sat in quiet room reading until about 9:40, at which time he returned saying everything was "fixed."  It was then we began the preparations.

There were 6-8 probes glued to my head above the hairline, and another 9-10 placed around my neck and face.  The wires were all gathered and bundled behind my head, making me feel like I'd just had wire hair extensions added for the night.  Additionally, there were four probes on my legs, and two on my chest that were all gathered into the bundle.  I also had a chest strap and a belly strap wrapped around my torso -- snug, but not uncomfortable.  The final dressing was a sensor that went between my nose and mouth -- taped down and then looped around my ears -- and an oxygen sensor on my right index finger.

I was firmly attached to the instrumentation.  In fact, there were so many wires glued/stuck on me that I wondered if someone pulled hard enough, would I lift off the ground?

Sitting in the chair, none of this seemed "that bad," but under the covers it was a different story.

As an "active sleeper," I normally change positions at least a dozen times a night and often more.  But with all these wires attached to me, it was quite difficult to move.  I turned off the light at 10:30, but figure it took at least an hour -- and several awkward repositionings -- to doze off for the first time.  I ended up waking fully every time I needed to shift around -- the number of times I did that, I hesitate to estimate.  Suffice it to say "a lot" would be in the ballpark.  I remember thinking at one point that I would never get to sleep, and at another point just wishing the night was over and I was on my way home, no matter how tired I'd feel.

Nevertheless, I was sound asleep when the tech came to tell me it was time to get 5AM!  I showered, dressed and drove home in a bit of a fog.

Might be a good Saturday for an afternoon nap.

1 comment:

  1. I think that I might have sleep apnea and it would be a good idea for me to go to a sleep clinic in Utah. Wish me luck.