Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wired: A Sleep Study

Tonight I am happy to sit on my couch, watch my tv, use my shower, and crawl into my bed.  Because two nights ago while I was watching tv and getting into bed, I was looking something like this:

By the way, this is in the running for my worst picture of all time.  I will now go hide under a rock to shield myself from the embarrassment of actually posting this picture for the entire blogosphere to view.

On Monday I spent the night at The Center for Sleep.  Because I continually act out my dreams (once resulting in a broken arm), I had to see what was up.  I mean, we all know that my mind works in crazy ways, but now it is medically official. 

So I strolled into the sleep center at 8pm and they set me up in a study room, which is basically just a hotel room. Bed. TV. Shower. Cheap shampoo.  Oh, and a camera and speakers over the bed.

Camera over my bed.  TV tuned to The Bachelorette.

So the tech comes in and starts hooking me up to a million different wires. Okay, not a million.  But 27.
Case Study:  Room 10

The wires connected to my legs, chest, hands, head, and face.  He had to stick the sensors to my head, which resulted in an elmer’s glue type of substance all over my hair.  Not only was it all in my hair, but this same glue, combined with the medical tape to secure the sensors, left really cute red splotchy places on my face.  Awesome.

Another flattering photo

While the doctor was trying to connect everything, I was just trying to watch Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelorette on the tiny tv hanging in the corner of the room.  “You know these kinds of shows aren’t real, don’t you?” “Do you truly believe that she can find love this way?” “Would you ever consider being on a show like this?” “Why has society become fascinated with reality tv instead of fantasy?” Oh. My. Gosh.  Clearly this man does not have a wife or a daughter at home.  Don’t ever come between a girl and her Monday night ABC reality shows. I’m already letting you put sensors in my hair, the least you can do is not talk during the rose ceremony. That’s something to lose sleep over. I resigned to watch the replays on my laptop the next day and went to bed.  He plugged me into the wall and then went to his control room to calibrate my machine. We talked through the speaker over my bed, which - looking back - is kind of creepy.  “Close your left eye.  Now your right eye. Move your chin like you are chewing an apple. Flex your left foot.  Now your right.” This went on for a while, and then finally he said “Sleep well.  Even if you fail the test, you pass. Good luck.”  I have a habit of not thinking about potentially scary or awkward things beforehand to avoid getting worked up over it.  Sky diving? I didn’t think about it until after I jumped.  Sleep with someone watching me? I’m thinking about it right now. And it is a little bit creepy.  But it wasn’t bad at the time.  I actually slept pretty well.  I fell asleep fast and only woke up once when the doctor came in to reattach a sensor to my head that had gotten knocked off.  I’m assuming that I moved around a lot less than normal since I was practically tied down with all of the wires.  And I didn’t sleep walk, which we knew wasn’t likely in a controlled environment.  However, they can still formulate a diagnosis based on muscle movement  and brain activity.  Before I knew it, it was 5:30 and I was being woken up to discuss my results.  My doctor showed me some confusing charts and told me two things. 

Confusing Chart

The first is unrelated to my dream issue but creeps me out.  “You know that you grind your teeth in your sleep, don’t you? A lot.  Very loudly.  We heard you grinding over the speakers all night.” Ew! I don’t even know how to grind my teeth in the waking hours.  It creeps me out and I literally can’t force myself to do it.  I do happen to know that my dentist’s wife and my dental hygienist both read my blog.  Consider this my cry for help.  Fix me!

The second piece of news was what I needed to know.  I have a Non-REM Parasomnia.  Basically, my brain wave activity was off the charts during Non-REM sleep and my brain cannot filter what I should and should not be doing.  I was prescribed a light dose of a medication to calm down my central nervous system only during sleep. I haven’t tried it yet.  I decided to wait for the long weekend and a non-work night to try it. 

So there you have it.  I have a hyperactive brain while sleeping.  I’m assuming that this means that I am really, really smart. At least that’s what I’ve been telling people.

In other news, I went to the hospital last week.  Intentionally this time!  I became a weekly Child-Life volunteer at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital last fall, but with the broken arm, splints, and casts, I couldn't follow proper hospital hand washing procedures or lifting requirements.  But I am finally back and thrilled to have the highlight of my week back in my life!


  1. I hear you loud and clear.....night guard it is!!!

  2. Oh I need to do a sleep study but now I think I will definitely put it on the backburner, lol! Though I do need a nightguard too, I didn't realized I grind my teeth until Jonathon was doing some work on my teeth and mentioned it. A year later and I'm probably still grinding :).