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Readers Respond: What to Expect During a Sleep Study

Responses: 24

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Updated September 30, 2009

Better sleep is a huge challenge when you have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, and sometimes better sleep can start with a sleep study to diagnose any sleep disorders you may have. If you've had a sleep study, share what it was like, what you learned from it, and how it has (or hasn't) helped you. If you haven't had one, learn from those who have. Share Your Story

It gets better...

I initially had a sleep study because I wanted to tell my parents it wasn't that difficult and they could/should get one too. My father snored like a freight train every nigh of his life, as far as I could tell. But I also had plenty of symptoms--daytime drowsiness at the top of the list--but also would wake up occasionally after a bad night with uvula (hanging down part at back of throat) so swollen from vibration and snoring that I could barely swallow. Had study at rural hosp by mobile sleep lab; very good technician explained everything. It was a "split study" meaning first half of night was without CPAP and then with, and compare. It was so obvious that I had severe obstructive sleep apnea that the instant the tech had enough data he fitted me with mask. I awoke more refreshed than I had for years. Others here say they are light sleepers, couldn't get to sleep ... so was I. That in itself is a symptom. You are "light sleeper" because you are not getting quality sleep.
—Guest CharlieD

First Sleep Study was a bomb!

This was the first one for me and the room and tech were all great. But I could not fall asleep, so at 3am I gave up and came home! I have Systemic Lupus and Fibrom. lots of other symptoms..don't know if I would try this again. It would be great to not be so tired and achey for part of everyday. I can not even make any plans. Not much of a life!
—Guest Sue

Sleep Study?!?

I don't sleep well when away from home, and felt like I was awake the first 4 hrs~they said I "woke up" several hundred times! Then put a CPAP mask on me and said I slept much better~I felt they were just trying to sell me the machine, which I tried~kept me awake fiddling with it most of the night~so they gave me a sleep med~woke up after 8 hrs with a sore throat (I think it blew the sinus infection into my lungs) which turned into 6 wks of bronchitis! So I gave back the CPAP. Another Dr from rival hospital wanted to redo the test, but he was such a jerk I cancelled. Don't sleep well~sometimes takes me hrs to get to sleep. Dr thinks it's JUST anxiety/depression but any med they try in addition to Cymbalta (which BARELY keeps me functioning in the winter) just seems to make me WORSE! I'm SO sick of being so sick and tired! IS there ANY hope for inprovement? I'm so very discouraged.
—Guest MK Gilbert

Scary Results but no Sleep Apnea

I looked forward to my sleep study as my Dr., spouse and I all knew I was not sleeping well and my Dr. wanted some results to decide how to treat me. I had to wait almost 8 months for my study so I was "psyched", and relieved the next morning to know I didn't have sleep apnea, as you can lose your driver's licence in my province if they discover you aren't using your CPAP/BPAP machine (they check whether you are ordering replacement supplies). When I went for my follow-up appointment to explain the results, imagine my surprise to learn that my sleep profile is usually seen with psychotic mental patients! (almost no Stage 3/4 sleep). I have Alpha EEG anomaly but felt the news was delivered very poorly, with no tips on how to improve sleep hygiene or ideas for meds, coping strategies, etc. The specialist's bedside manner was horrible as he usually counselled sleep apnea patients and didn't know what to do with me.
—Guest Leslie F.

sleep study

I just had a sleep study this past Monday. I was surprised to find out that people who have trouble sleeping (that's why we're there) are woken up at 6:30 and booted out by 7am. Removing the wires takes 10 minutes and the rest of the time is spent trying to get that goop (which I didn't realise would be so bad) off of you--no time to really get ready to leave. Most people cannot sleep well away from home and that was my experience. The posts above seem to point to a week for results. I was told it will take 6-8 weeks. I was also surprised when I was in the waiting room for the consult earlier the day of the sleep study to find that one person was getting ready for her 3rd. GEEZ, I thought one would be enough to give you an idea of what's what--unless, of course, you do have apnea and they want to test you with a machine. Not sure I could use one as I never sleep on my back. I toss and turn like crazy all night. In fact, I yanked out wires twice and the tech had to come in and fix them
—Guest honda4fun

chronic sleep apnea

I was sometimes waking up gasping for air and pain in my chest! So my dr ordered a sleep test for me. One good thing is that with the way my dr does a sleep test is that we can test at home! So I took everything with me and it was a good night because I was really tired and was able to sleep. What the study told my dr is that in one hour I held my breath for 10seconds or more and I did that 20times! So he put me on a CPAP that varied pressure from 5 to 20! Others I know would just stay at a set number. Well, after my husband passed away I lost 60 lbs and now my Severe objective Sleep Apnea seems to be gone! I still try to use the CPAP but it just sits at 5 and im not waking up gasping for air and I haven't had any more chest pains for the 3 years!
—nanimalz

Failed my Sleep Study Test

I underwent a sleep study this week and did not sleep a minute from 10pm to 6am. I'm a light sleeper to begin with and sleeping in a clinical setting didn't make things easy to begin with. I had no idea how much 'wiring hook-up' was required to get someone prepared for the test. It wasn't very comfortable for me. One of wires was clamped on the end of my finger, and it was bothering me enough to keep me from sleeping the entire night. My request to have it adjusted resulted in it being moved to a different finger, which eventually bothered me as much as the original set-up. My result was 'inconclusive due to lack of data'. The technician suggested I try again but take a sleeping pill to knock me out during the testing. The experience was frustrating and tiring for me, not to mention a waste of my insurance deductible.
—Guest Barry

my 4 sleep tests

First test was for sleep apnea. Because of tiredness and migraines. Came up with nothing. My age was 34 at the time 5'9" and 140 lbs. Not a common canidate for fibro or cfs. So I don't blame the specialists or doctors. My next test showed some mild apnea. So the 3rd test scheduled to test the cpap settings. The first 2 test did show low oxygen but not dangerously low. The cpap made things worse, then they tried a smart one, that suppose to sense when to turn on and monitored and save the info on a memory card for the 4th test. That was when I was told my second test showed in an 6hrs of sleep I had 3 episodes of apnea or restricted breathing and like 31 episodes of interrupted sleep cycles. Never hitting REM sleep. A skinny boy like me didn't need to be told to lose weight just out of the USMC by a few years. They didn't need to tell me how to exercise either but the mentioned them both. They were so focused on sleep apnea they ignored they lack of REM as a cause!
—Guest Feuresprit

Be carefull you go to a reputable lab

My sleep study was not all that valuable. The bed rose at 4am. I thought the technican did it as part of the test. I latter found out that she did not and did not know why the bed rose. I don't noprmally sleep at a 45 degree angle so I was uncomfortable and could not sleep. I felt it was an invalid test. The Doctor tried to explain it off. It was not about trying to help me it was about trying to sell expensive stuff. Moral of the story don't go to a for profit lab. Do it at a hospital that has some scuples.
—Guest guest

Obstructive sleep apnea & central apnea

I was never given the REAL results of my first sleep test. Finally, another doctor told me it took me over an hour to fall asleep on ALL my meds and took 5 hours to get into REM. I've been researching (having another sleep study), and lots of people with our symptoms have been helped overseas (Europe and Canada) with a new sleep machine called AVS. It makes CPAP AND BIPAP appear from the dark ages. It's the intelligent CPAP ... it only helps when you need it ... and it checks your levels and tries to keep them equal and on the right track ... it doesn't jump in and control your body ... it helps your body ... I hope my test includes the AVS ... many in Europe have not been helped at all by CPAP and BIPAP ... but changed quality of life with AVS! I'm going to find a doctor who will let me try it, if it kills me! The few times I sleep, my pain level is less ... it's worth it ... prayers for everybody :-)
—Guest Tervlover

anjel77

I had a sleep study about 5 yrs ago. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia & hypothyroidism at that time. They told me to take my night time meds, like 4 different potent meds. One a benzodiazapine., I did. Doctor stated, "Sleep study was fine". A BIG WASTE of TIME & MONEY! For me. I should have slept without the meds , DUH! I think I may have narcolepsy too. But I would never do it again. Woke me up at 6:00 am to drive home by 6:30 or 7am. I was still drugged VERY DANGEROUS DRIVE!
—Guest anjel77

Non sleepers be persistant

I was already taking medication for sleep which helped with sleep but did not relieve restless legs. I began getting migraine in the night and early AM. Dr. suggested sleep study. The setting was pleasant as was the tech. I am claustrophobic and felt tense with the mask. Nasal pillow slipped around. I finally decided I was going to learn to like the mask. It took about 2 months but now I would not be without it even for naps. No more headaches or waking myself by snoring.
—marilynbloom

Sleep Studies

Having had 5/6 sleep studies that all were a pleasant experience with outcomes of severe sleep apnea I struggled with a C-PAP yanking it off in the middle of the night, feeling like I was suffocating, etc., etc.. I finally went to the Sleep Studies Department of Emory University where after reviewing my sleep studies, talking with me, suggested that I see a dentist who is a sleep apnea specialist, a diplomat in the American Dental Sleep Apnea something, something ! I was fitted for a special kind of appliance (quite expensive, no insurance) which is the best money I have spent in years ! I had a sleep study done with the appliance which changed all the numbers, including low oxygen levels. It travels like a retainer, uses Polident to clean and so unlike, so not confining that I wish everone with sleep apnea could have one ! The FIBRO is alive and well, but I'm counting on something new for me being a relief. The SA was threatening pulmonary hypertension. I had to do something !
—carolinerish

Sleep Study

Wow, my study was way different. I had the bedroom setting, sheets were fine. I sleep through the night with no problems. It was true for the study as well. I finely got to see the doctor to go over the report. Was I surprised. Low oxygen levels, 74, I got into deep level once. I snore on my back. The normal. adnormal stuff. What surprised me the most was the doctor I spoke with explained things to me. OK, I forgot them. If you don't sleep, it throws of you hormonal system. I've gained a ton of weight and She was the first doctor to tell me ,"it wasn't my fault". My other doctors wanted me to do lap band. I watch what I eat, I do a water exercise class 5 days a week. I went for the second study a couple of nights ago. It was sooo different. I was so tired I couldn't wait to get into bed. They put a full mask on, I was fine , ready to sleep. NOT!. My brain would not turn off. By morning, I was still so tired. I was told I slept, really? I go in next week for the results.
—ShirleyP1

a strange event

Although it was supposed to look like a bedroom, the million wires attached to my body didn't make me fell like I was in any great hotel. The room was stuffy hot. The male attendant was so creey I knew I would never summon him no matter what kind of emergency should arise. Never would I let this guy in my room in the night! I kept hearing doors bang. The results showed I had moderate sleep apnea, but it showed I slept soundly. Why then did I keep hearing those doors? Why did I keep getting all those drinks of water by my bedside? In the write up it suggested I lose weight--I wear a size 6 or 8. Hum...it must be required to wear a size 4. It suggested I get dental guards which I did. I'm not always sarcastic--I promise! I do think they help, but they also kind of hurt my mouth. I still have fibro and still take meds for the restless leg and sleep meds. And I hope always to see the funny side of life!
—Guest Donna

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What to Expect During a Sleep Study

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