Friday, August 22, 2008

Studying Sleep

How appropriate that I write about a sleep study on a night that I'm having trouble falling asleep. :)

I'm officially scheduled to go in for my sleep study at 8 p.m. Oct. 1. I'm told that lights out will be at 10 p.m., and I'm hoping that it doesn't take the entire two hours for them to attach the 20 electrodes to my head and face.

The sleep study ends at 6 a.m. on Oct. 2, and then I get to spend the next 11 hours at hospital for what they call a multiple sleep latency test. For that, I'm allowed a 20 minute nap every two hours, at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. That will determine whether I have narcolepsy and/or the degree of my daytime sleepiness.

I have some qualms about how it will all work. For one thing, I don't fall asleep quickly under the best of circumstances. The person who registered me for the sleep study suggested I get sleeping medicine, such as ambien, but it seems like that would give them an unnatural impression of my sleep habits since I don't normally take sleeping pills. (And honestly, I've tried Ambien and it doesn't work all that well for me most of the time.)

As for the naps -- well, I'll be shocked if I've done more than just about dozed off when they decide the 20 minutes are up and it's time to wake me up. I'm told I can watch TV, DVDs, read or surf the Internet during the periods between my allowed naps. But I'm wondering how the heck they'll keep me from dozing off while reading or watching television. I hope they don't use electric shocks to keep me awake. :)

For a good description of both parts of a sleep study, go here.

My sleep study will be done at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, which is where I was hospitalized last summer and also where I gave birth to Ellie.

I have mixed feelings about it all. I don't really think I have obstructive sleep apnea or narcolepsy -- although you never know -- but it's an apparently necessary step to try to persuade the insurance company to cover Provigil, which my internist wants me to try to see if it helps with my debilitating fatigue.

I just hope I don't decide to sleep walk while I'm there ... :) when I was in college, the girls in my sorority used to whisper about my sleep walking. I'd have thought it was all an elaborate joke, but a couple good friends insisted they'd seen me do it more than once.

I was told that during the MSLT part of the study, I could walk around the hospital and visit the cafeteria, but I don't really see that happening. I think I'll be embarrassed enough about all the electrodes and wires that I'll be asking them to bring me my meals in my room.


Sherril said...

Insurance companies are crazy, aren't they? They're going to spend many thousands of dollars on all that sleep study stuff in lieu of just letting you try the Provigil. It's expensive, but it's not THAt expensive.

Aviva said...

I know! Isn't it nuts?! I've been meaning to call the pharmacy and find out how much I'd have to pay out of pocket for 5-10 Provigil pills just to see if it's worth filing a formal appeal to the insurance company if this sleep study doesn't get me access to them. I mean jeez, what if they don't agree with my system anyway and give me crazy side effects? Ugh!

SO I guess I'll find out first-hand what you went through with the sleep study! :)

Ashley said...

I found your blog via Laurie Edward's blog. I was only able to read a bit of your site, so I don't know the whole story, but I was wondering if ANYONE has thought of looking into Mitochondrial Disease with you. I went undiagnosed for years before they figured out that that was part of the answer. It is very rare so doctors don't think of it (and very few have even heard of it). Some of the symptoms you describe fit (and the disease affects everyone differently so there is no set list of criteria to fit in to anyways). If you ask about it, don't let ANY doctor tell you it is only found in children...not true! It can occur in adulthood as well. If you are interested, go to this website

and if you think it might fit you...even just parts of it...there is a mitochondrial disease specialist in Boston who people all over the country go to. Go with your gut instinct on this one and don't trust local doctors to tell you yes or no about this diagnosis...they don't know enough about it. If YOU feel it might be plausible, head to the Boston mito specialist (I can give you his name).


Ambien Prescription Information said...

My name is Catherine Snow and i would like to show you my personal experience with Ambien.

I have taken for 1 years. I am 57 years old. Works great if I take it on an empty stomach, and get right into bed. If you take it and try to keep yourself awake, you can override the pill and be up all night.

Side Effects :

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Catherine Snow

sleeping with ambien said...

For many years, I had no problems falling asleep but after 4 hours would wake again, wide awake, mind racing, etc. I finally asked my doctor to prescribe Ambien and paid extra to get it. It was worth every penny. I found a whole tablet taken at bedtime still only let me sleep 4-5 hours. I had been told I might need to take another tablet if I woke too early, but didn't want to do that. So now, I don't take Ambien at night when I go to sleep. I take 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet when I wake up at 2 or 3 a.m. It works like a charm; I sleep another three or four hours. For me, 2.5 mg works just as well as 5 mg. Great sleep and I've never had sleep amnesia.