I always see these posts on Craigslist from legitimate hospitals looking for people willing to stay at the hospital for weeks at a time, usually for >$1000 a week, as a participant in a sleep study. (For example, this ad
promises $5090 in 28 days.)
As a hard-for-cash college student with a part-time, on-campus summer job that I can abandon and return to at pretty much any point, I'm seriously considering doing one of these after finals end. But I need to know more.
Could I say, read a book? Work on pre-thesis research? Write? Watch movies? Work on web development / any random web surfing activity on my laptop?
Or should I expect something more like the eyes-open device from A Clockwork Orange, where despotic researchers refuse to let me sleep for days on end and study my bodily reactions to that, with a zillion sensors attached to my chest and head?
[More realistically,] will all the other participants be cocaine addicts looking for some quick cash? Can I leave the room or building ever? Is food provided and is the cost of that covered? Perhaps most importantly, are there any possible long-term negative consequences (psychological, I'd guess)?
Basically I'm just looking for any details and advice, from people who have been participants (or, even better, researchers). Anyone done this type of thing before? Some hospitals offer "outpatient" sleep studies that pay less — is that a better choice?
FWIW, I found a lot of AskMeFi archives about sleep studies, but they all seem related to people who may have sleep apnea paying for a diagnosis.