a person going through a sleep study showing them with wires attached to their head and then showing them wearing a CPAP

My First Sleep Study

When I was initially sent to a sleep clinic for possible sleep apnea, it was a two-step process, which meant two nights in the clinic.

I am unsure if back in 2012 there were home sleep studies, but I was not offered one. This was something I needed to do for my health, but may not be an option for people that are caretakers or single parents.

Thankfully, now there are home sleep studies but in the time when you had to go to a clinic, I could see a lot of people not being able to do what they need to for better health and a better night's sleep.

Getting set up in the sleep clinic

I arrived around 7:30 p.m. to get set up for the night. There were a lot of wires they attached to my head, along with wires for heart monitoring and respirations along with a pulse oximeter on one of my fingers.

I did not have a TV in my room and was asked to limit time on my phone so I could fall asleep quickly and sleep longer so the doctor had maximum data. This is how both of my nights started, except the second night when they placed a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) on me so they could determine the settings I needed.

One would think it’s hard to fall asleep with all those wires attached to your body, but anyone with sleep apnea knows you can pretty much fall asleep under most circumstances.

2 nights to diagnosis

The first night I slept pretty well for being in a weird place attached to a bunch of machines. One of the biggest annoyances was when I woke up to use the restroom and they disconnected the wires from the machine, but not from my body. That was interesting, to say the least. I was told at the end of the night I did stop breathing a lot in my sleep and even though they could not technically diagnose me, expect the diagnosis.

The second night I slept much better because I had the CPAP machine on. I believe I actually made it through the night without waking up, which was rare for me. Before this, I woke up multiple times a night from either not breathing or from what I assume was just poor sleep.

Honestly, I was happy to have a diagnosis and a solution that would help keep me healthy. I would have to say the worst part overall from this experience was when they ended the study. It was over at 6:30 a.m., which is way too early to send someone driving home who already doesn’t get good sleep. I definitely struggled that drive home and almost had to pull over for a nap so I didn’t crash.

Picking up my CPAP

Shortly after, I was given a prescription for a CPAP and when I picked it up, was able to choose the style mask I wanted. I went for the nasal pillows since I am a stomach sleeper and those seemed to be the most appropriate for me.

There was also a respiratory therapist who programmed my machine to the settings I needed. Overall, I would do this again because it has helped tremendously, but I would ask for a home sleep study so I didn’t have to go to the clinic and have all the extra wires hanging off me.

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