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Sleep, where are you?
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After having three children, and getting them through the infant and teenage years, I’ve come to realize I don’t need as much sleep as I once thought.
A mother is trained to be a light sleeper, just in case the baby wakes up and you don’t hear it…like that would ever happen! Even as newborns, they can work up to a mighty fit when they need something, and are impossible to ignore.
But, guess what? As I have gotten older, I’m still waking up a lot and not sleeping well. My husband says I even snore sometimes! I’m not sure I believe that, but he insists.
At the recommendation of my doctor, I recently had a sleep study done at an overnight clinic. The study is known as polysomnography and is used as a test to diagnose sleep disorders.
Polysomnography records brain waves, the oxygen level in your blood, heart rate and eye and leg movements while you sleep.
All that sounds reasonable enough until you ask how do they do that? After checking into the clinic, preparations are made to go to bed. This includes your regular rituals, and a few additions from the technician in charge.
Your room is similar to a hotel room, but is equipped with a video camera, so the technologists monitoring can see what is happening in the room. It also has an audio system so they can talk to you from outside the room.
Now the fun part begins, with the placement of at least 22 sensors on your scalp, temples, chest and legs, all attached to your skin with adhesives. The sensors are connected by wires to a computer where all this is recorded. A clip is also attached to your finger to monitor the level of oxygen in your blood. This plus two wide strips secured around your body.
Since I’m a light sleeper who tosses and turns a lot, I didn’t think I would sleep enough for them to get results. Well wouldn’t you know it, just as soon as I started sleeping well, she came in and flipped the light on declaring, “It’s 7 o’clock and time to get up!” But I was not ready to get up, and I told her so.
It seems that is a medical fact. We get our best sleep early in the morning, something about the different stages of REM deep sleep. I was too groggy to comprehend what she said.
My test results were not bad, some slight sleep apnea, but nothing serious. It seems my main problem comes from reading from the iPad in bed, or something about that evening nap I like to take.
But with over 90 million Americans suffering from sleep problems, it makes me wonder, “What are so many of us doing that we can’t get a good night’s sleep?”