Monday, November 28, 2011

Psychology: Sleep Study

Anyone who knows me well knows that I sleep in excessive, long, extreme marathon sessions, and that I am an opportunistic napper.  As in any afternoon that I can have a nap, I take one.  After years of complaining about this sleep habit to my doctor (because I really do feel I absolutely need this absurd amount of sleep because darn it I'm tired!) and multiple blood tests later, she sent me on a lovely sleep study, which happens tonight.

What's a sleep study?  Well, I go to the hospital, have my own private room and bathroom (much like a hotel room, they said), and my job is to sleep.  Now, granted, I'm going to have all kinds of stuff strapped all over me including nodes on my chest, head, and things in front of my mouth and nose to gauge my breathing, and wires poking out of all these things.  But I'm still required to sleep.  Then all those things strapped and stuck to me generate a report, and from there they figure out if I have some kind of sleep disorder.

The general suspicion is sleep apnea, because I snore like a freight train, even when I'm on my side.  We shall see.

My fear is that it's all psychological and tied to the depression from which I suffer, and that this sleep study and suffering today and tomorrow will be all for naught.  It is completely true that I do cope with depressive episodes by sleeping even more excessively than when I'm not having an episode.

Suffering? you ask.  Yes, suffering.  Today, for example, I must abide by the following absurd and evil conditions:

  • no caffeine after noon.  (WHAT?)
  • no naps (this, to me, is pure torture)
  • only normal exercise amounts (not a problem, though I am moving a lot more to keep myself from falling asleep)
  • no alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilizers (this I can handle)
  • avoid unusual physical exercise or meals (does eating mashed potatoes for lunch count as unusual?)
So actually, not too bad except for the nap thing.  I'm told I'll be awakened between 6:30 and 7 tomorrow morning to be kicked out, and that I may want to shower after the study, because they put goo in your hair to hold down the nodes.  I do have to shampoo my hair and use no conditioner on it tonight.  (Which is not a problem because I use no conditioner anyway.)

But that's only today!  Tomorrow I fear I will be napping most of the day to make up from my sleep study the night before.  Except for my narcoleptic friends (I have 3 friends with narcolepsy), I'm told it's not a great night's sleep.  But I'm willing to give it the old college try and see if I can give them a good reading.

Here's hoping.  Sweet dreams, y'all.

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