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Updated on April 8, 2021

Hooked Up for the Night

Going to the sleep clinic

by Terri Mackinnon

How much sleep does a person actually need? It's recommended that a typical sleep should last between 7 to 9 hours and but varies individually.

A sleep disorder (somnipathy) is a medical disorder of the sleep patterns. Some forms of sleep disorders affect normal physical, mental and emotional functioning. A test preformed in lab conditions and commonly ordered for some sleep disorders is called a polysomnogram. The actual breakdown of the word is a multi-channel ("poly") recording ("gram") during sleep ("somno") PSG, resulting from a sleep test called the polysomnography.

Most of the PSG testing is done at night, however there are many labs that also offer the service to shift workers and some forms of disorders.

I just recently had my first experience with going to the Sleep Clinic, and YES They WATCH YOU ALL NIGHT! And it is a creepy as you think it would feel.

When you first arrive you watch a video on the procedure, which I guess is somewhat comforting since you get to at least know the probes that they are going to put into your head and all over your body is not going to cause you pain.

They hook you up with at least 20 probes, over your eyes, on your head, belts above your breast and below, probes attached to your legs, arms and chest and let's not forget the finger.

The rooms are nothing like the lab rooms that I had imagined. They actually looked like a hotel room. The bed was really comfortable and the furnishings were very comforting. They even had really nice comforters and cozy blankets, I would imagine for most this was actually better then home.

You arrive to the clinic at 9.45pm and it takes them until about 11.00 pm before they get you all connected. They then help you to negotiate your way to your bed. Once inside the room they begin to connect all of the probes that are now sitting right behind your head into the top of the bed connections.

Once you lay down they go through a series of test and then they say Good Night. They tell you to try and lay on your back for 30 minutes. However, I turned over and went to sleep probably within 10 minutes after I pulled off my leg probe by accident.

I know I woke up quite a few times through the night. I rolled around over an over throughout the night. I don't know how long in between I slept.

At one point when I woke up probably in the first hour that I was there everything was dark and my hand was under my pillow, when I pulled my hand out I started laughing hysterically. The tip of my finger was lit up with a red light, and I said out loud "I think I am turning into ET!"

I laughed and I'm sure that the technicians were laughing then I realized darn this is actually being videotaped.

In the morning they wake you up at 6.00a.m and they start removing the probes by 6.30 your able to leave.

However, I have long hair and the jelly/sticky stuff they put on you to keep the probes connected now made my hair look like I had dreadlocks.

It took almost a bottle of conditioner and washing it a couple times to work it out of my hair and I have to say "what a mess". (I didn't see that on the video before we start...hmm I wonder why?)

Anyway, when I woke up in the morning the technician came in and asked how I slept, I said. "You tell me!"

There are many types of sleep disorders, some of them are as follows:

  • 1. Sleep Apnea is a disorder that affects your breathing during sleep. Normally it is sleep that is accompanied by loud snoring and disrupted my multiple periods of time throughout the night that it actually stops. People with sleep apnea do not get enough oxygen during sleep. There are 2 major types. Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea. Obstructive is the most common due to an obstruction in the throat during sleep. This problem is usually discovered by the spouse at night time. Central Sleep Apnea is caused by a delay in the signal form the brain to breath.
  • 2. Insomnia Transient insomnia - lasting for a few nights Short-term insomnia - two or four weeks of poor sleep

    Chronic insomnia - poor sleep that happens most nights and last a month or longer

  • 3. What is Sleepwalking (Somnambulism)? Sleepwalking (Somnambulism) is a series of complex behaviors that are initiated during slow wave sleep and result in walking during sleep and sometimes wondering. Some people get up and eat whole meals without even knowing they had risen from their beds.
  • 4. What are Sleep Terrors? Sleep Terrors are characterized by a sudden arousal from slow wave sleep with a piercing scream or cry, accompanied by autonomic. When we were kids our mom's would say that we were just having a bad dream. Most of the time that was probably the case, watching those scary movies definitely didn't help. But many people suffer these without any help from outside stimulants.
  • 5. Narcolepsy - a chronic disorder affecting the brain where regulation of sleep and wakefulness take place. Narcolepsy can be thought of as an intrusion of dreaming sleep (REM) into the waking state. This disease is often seen by someone that can fall asleep at the drop of a pin and usually are seen as cat napping in the office place.
  • 6. What is Sleep Bruxism? Grinding and clenching your teeth as you sleep. Most dentists can recognize this in a checkup and can be corrected with proper mouth/teeth guards.
  • 7. What is Fibromyalgia? A chronic painful disorder that affects pain in your muscles, ligaments and tendons.
  • 8. What is Hypersomnia? Prolonged excessive deep and major sleepiness. Sometimes it exhibits signs with a difficulty in awakening.Hypersomnia is believed to be caused by the central nervous system.


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