Editor's Note: This is the second in a three-part series Jenny wrote about her sleep-related concerns and experience. In this portion, she shares what it was like to experience a sleep study. Click here to read part one.
After experiencing increasing fatigue and observations from others of inadequate breathing while asleep, I scheduled an office visit with Dr. Jesse Li at Hendricks Neurology. After positively identifying several concerning factors- he recommended a sleep study at the Hendricks Regional Health Sleep Disorders Center. I was scheduled within two weeks and before I knew it, I was checking in.
The Hendricks Regional Health Sleep Disorders Center felt like a modern, hotel facility – minus the blaring TV from next door and no children running up and down the hall. It was every working mother’s dream. You’re actually told to rest, relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. My sleep technician was kind and detailed. Ali explained every part of the process, including how I would be monitored and observed, my movements captured and interpreted.
Truthfully, I was afraid I’d have difficulty falling asleep considering the strange room, different bed, no normal bedtime routine with kiddos and the hubby. I was pleasantly surprised when I fell asleep quickly and even when adjustments were made to equipment in the middle of the night, I was still able to return to sleep. I left the hospital by 5:45 a.m. to return home, get everyone ready for school and then I returned for a normal workday later in the morning.
My results were analyzed and within two weeks, I was scheduled to receive a CPAP machine to assist my breathing at night. Turns out I stopped breathing an average of 22 times an hour. Matt Rees, director of the Sleep Disorders Center, explained that the normal range is less than five times an hour. No wonder I was tired, my poor body was struggling to get in adequate oxygen supplies throughout the night and often went through brief periods of time where it was obstructed altogether.
What a relief! I was so thankful that we identified, and more importantly, could address the issue of feeling restful when I woke up! When I was set up with my CPAP machine, the respiratory therapist was most helpful and we went thru a customized fitting session for the machinery. I joked with my husband that he’d need to get used to sleeping next to Darth Vader (due to the noise from the machine). We were both pleasantly surprised with how quiet the machine was. It was seriously quiet, as in, our ceiling fan makes more noise.
It’s definitely taking time to get used to the equipment. The machine adds about an extra five minutes of prep time before bed and then another five minutes in the morning to clean up and put equipment away. I’m getting acclimated to the tubing and the masks themselves- it’s actually been an easier process than I expected. Most of all, I’m excited to start having quality periods of sleep ... where I can wake up and feel like I’ve had deep and restorative sleep. Sleeping Beauty may have competition after all!