Sleep(less) in the sleep lab

Me and the Cadwell Easy interface box holding all my EEG probes, about ready my sleep study.*

If I don’t post this now, I probably will overthink it. Last night I underwent a sleep study at the University of Utah Sleep-Wake Center. For a decade I have been battling hypertension. I am seeing a new doctor, and he asked me what I wanted. I said “a fresh look.” Well he had one. Did you know that 50% of people with hypertension have sleep apnea, and if you have sleep apnea, you have about a 50% chance of getitng hypertension? Me either. Neither apparently, did the four primary care physicians I have seen in the last ten years (note that the paper was published in 2002, but never mind that). Letting go and moving on…

I don’t fit the profile for sleep apnea: I’m not old, male or obese. I don’t snore or feel sleepy all the time. But the first line strategies (in their mind-boggling variations) for my real problem have been abject failures with respect to their lifestyle-cramping side effects, so I agreed to try this.

So if you are super curious, or you are about to do a study and find this on a search, here’s some observations about my sleep study procedure.

  • Michelle, my tech, was absolutely wonderful at setting me at ease. I was not expecting to be laughing the entire time through the rigging up process. I told her what I was worried about in the process, and she made it into a non-problem.
  • Yes, I got up in the night. No, it was not a socially awkward problem.
  • I wish I’d brought a bathrobe and slippers. Turns out that things are a bit looser than the instructions made out. R made the observation that if they update the instruction list, they would have to get the revisions through the IRB. Nobody wants to open that can of worms. I should have asked, or just done it and let them say no.
  • I slept better than I thought possible with all those gizmos on me. They said I didn’t have to “perform” at sleeping, and I took them at my word. I just slept when I could. I brought my own pillow and I hardly noticed the cables.
  • I put it out of my mind that someone (Michelle) was watching me. The only time it gave me the creeps was when she woke me up to go home. She apologized for waking me just as I had fallen back asleep after the air conditioner woke me up some good amount of time earlier. That was a bit unreal, that she was watching my BRAIN go to sleep.

I’m glad it’s over; worrying about it was way worse than doing it. (Isn’t that true about almost everything in life?) I don’t have a clue as to the results. My follow-up is in about 10 days.

*My friend Bryan knows more about the Cadwell system, and R and I sent him some pictures of the vintage SCSI cables while they were rigging me up for his real-time commentary. R and Bryan want the raw data to play with in the lab. Michelle said we can ask the doctor for it. No doubt they will get it and make some interesting observations and images out of it. Anything to entertain them…but I get to write the blog post.

2013.01.30 Update on the results: You really are what you eat.