It is estimated that more than 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea at their home. This can lead to severe health conditions if left untreated or undiagnosed.
You may suffer from sleep apnea if you have the following symptoms:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- & others
If you are concerned that you may have sleep apnea, then you should make an appointment with your healthcare provider to set up an evaluation.
Two years ago, my partner was concerned that I had sleep apnea and that my doctor should evaluate me. I now have adult braces and am scheduled for surgery soon to correct my jaw deformities. Not everyone needs jaw surgery, but some do, and I was stunned that they may help my sleeping issues.
Sleep Apnea Evaluation:
At-Home Sleep Study
The first step was to do an at-home sleep evaluation. I went to the sleep lab and picked my kit in less than 10 minutes. They show you how to do it and take the survey and send you home all within a short amount of time.
Before I went to bed, I filled out a survey and put it on the device. The sleep apnea study at home requires you to use a nasal cannula in your nose and tape it to your face. Then you put an oxygen monitor on your finger. I ended up sleeping mostly on my back because I didn’t want the nasal cannula to move or get disrupted, the same with the finger monitor.
I wouldn’t say it was the best sleep I ever got even though I was at home for the sleep study.
The next day I went back to the sleep lab and returned my device. I had the results from my sleep apnea study at home within the week from my doctor. Then they scheduled me for the sleep apnea in-lab study.
In-Lab Sleep Study
The sleep apnea in-lab study was quite intense. Mainly because there are so many wires that they use to monitor your sleep. My technician was very friendly, and since I don’t have cable at home, watching cable at the sleep study center was a treat. The sleep apnea room looks like a regular hospital room, except it’s only for one person. The sleep lab technician came in to help me last, so I had to stay up later than I usually do, which was kind of annoying since I had to work the next day.
I think they set me up right before midnight and woke me up around 5:45 am, so again, not the best sleep.
To check you for sleep apnea, they put wires on your legs, arms, chest, face, and head. The solution is exceptionally waxy and sticky and hard to get out of your hair. You wear two nasal cannulas in this sleep apnea test. My understanding of all of the leads is that sleep apnea can affect your heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and other major organs.
*Note for the wise* wear loose-fitting clothes to your sleep apnea test. I would not advise wearing tight-fitting pajamas as they need to get up your pant legs and up towards your heart.
You also wear an oxygen monitor again. The sleep apnea technician watches you when you sleep and monitors everything, you do have to spend a certain amount of time on your back, or they will come in and put you on your back. I found that to be an odd concept since some people struggle to sleep on their backs for various reasons.
Thankfully, I went to the bathroom before she came in to hook me up and didn’t drink much water. I don’t see how people use the restroom in those situations once the leads on are you. The technician must come in and disconnect you and let you go to the bathroom then reconnect you. So if you can drink less water that day, I would.
Again, I don’t think I slept very well, and I usually snore and gasp for air when I am dead asleep. So, I don’t believe that I had the most accurate test.
After the Test
The sleep apnea technician came and woke me up nice and early so I could go home and shower before work. I asked to be one of the first ones she woke up. The disassembly process was much more comfortable than the assembly process.
She simply disconnected the leads, had me sign off on a few forms, and I was free to fly.
I went home and let my hair soak under the shower for a few minutes using hot water to melt the waxy substance. After that, I shampooed and conditioned as usual.
My doctor called me with the results within two weeks; I think it takes the sleep doctors longer to process the in-lab test. The sleep doctor does not contact you directly, or at least they didn’t come in my case. They instead passed the information along to my maxilla-facial surgeon, who called me.
Now I am awaiting the go-ahead from my orthodontist to have my jaw surgery later this summer.
Take- Away for Sleep Apnea Sleep Study
- Wear Loose Clothing
- Be prepared to Sleep on your Back
- Don’t drink too much water; you can’t get out of bed for the night
- Go to the bathroom before the tech hooks you up
- Try to clear your mind so you can sleep as much as possible
- Bring toothbrush and shower supplies if you want to shower there