Testimonial: How does a sleep study for sleep apnea work?


Our editor knows better than anyone how important sleep is to her health. That’s why she was so concerned about her sleeping pattern. She wakes up at night several times a week feeling unable to breathe. She sleeps very restlessly and often wakes up with a headache. Because these symptoms were reminiscent of sleep apnea, she decided to go to a sleep clinic for a sleep test on the advice of her doctor. Here she explains how it worked.

Read also: What is sleep apnea and how can you prevent and treat it?

“On the day of the examination, I was expected to arrive at the hospital at 5pm. A friendly nurse was waiting for me in the sleep clinic, and she took me to my single room (fortunately, this is standard for a sleep study). Less than half an hour later my sandwiches were served. I don’t usually eat around this time and I was already kicking myself for eating such a late lunch. Eat for the hunger that will come, then. At around 6pm, a trainee doctor came in to do an EKG, which is a short video of my heart. The nurse also came to tell me that he would come and put all the monitors on my body around 8:30. By then I had to get into my pajamas, because changing clothes afterwards was no longer an option. Until then, I had no choice but to watch Netflix on my iPad. How difficult is life in the hospital?

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He knocked on the door and as promised: around 8:30 I was “online”. The nurse placed electrodes on my head, between my hair and next to my eyes, and they remained stuck with a kind of paste. These electrodes will measure my brain activity and sleep stages. They were also placed on my chin and legs to measure muscle tension. Bands were also placed around my chest and abdomen to monitor my breathing movements. All of those cables were connected to a central drawer around my stomach. So I could still walk across the room, but there was nothing more.

Now it was just a matter of waiting. As soon as I wanted to sleep, I had to call. This should be no later than midnight, because they want to be able to monitor you for at least eight hours. I watched a bad movie on TV and waited until I felt a little tired. At 10:30pm I called the nurse, because there was still the “second part of the wire” waiting for me.

Just before bed, I was given an oxygen cannula in my nose to record my breathing. An electrode was attached to my finger and a microphone was placed in my neck to record (possible) snoring. Not only audio material was collected, but also visual material was collected. There was a camera above my bed to record movements while I slept.

“Good night,” the nurse said, and frankly, she sounded a little sarcastic.

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Some people seem to sleep like babies at this sleep clinic. not me. I was just falling asleep when the nurse had to come in and replace the cable. After that I fell asleep quickly (I think), but woke up quickly. The night became a series of short naps.

Read also: 11 symptoms of (chronic) sleep deprivation.

At 7:30 the nurse was at my bedside to remove all the cables. I didn’t say no to that. I only have the ones left on my head, because they seem to be easier to remove with water and shampoo. So I crawled into the bathroom at a very early hour and poured half a bottle of shampoo over my head to get that nasty paste out of my hair.

During breakfast I filled out a questionnaire. I honestly admitted that I had had a terrible night, although based on the material collected, that would not have come as a surprise to people who would look into my case.

I have no idea how to make a possible diagnosis based on that. After all, waking up will be difficult if you haven’t slept deeply… I’ll find out soon, when I have to go for a debriefing consultation. ”

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  • Do you have hospitalization insurance? Please inform your insurance company in time, as this relates to admission.
  • Don’t think: I’ll miss my morning shower or you can come home with bits of pasta in your hair. So make sure you bring shampoo and a good comb or brush.
  • I don’t usually watch TV between 5:30pm and 7:30pm, but I can tell you now: the shows at that hour are very disappointing. So be sure to bring your own activity materials. The evening lasts longer if you don’t have to cook or if there are no children to bother you.
  • Cables stuck to your body go under your pajamas and out again, so choose something loose and comfortable.
  • If you are wearing makeup, remember to remove it before it sticks to your face. And then there is no beginning anymore.
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“After more than two months I was allowed to go in for a consultation to discuss my results. They did show that my sleep pattern was very disturbed, but they had enough data to rule out sleep apnea. I was referred to a sleep practice for sleep therapy. “I still have to figure out what that means.” And whether I would take that step.”

Read also: What happens to your brain when you don’t sleep enough?

Last updated: October 2023

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Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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