How to fall sleep during sleep study?
June 21, 2016 1:10 PM   Subscribe

I just went in for a sleep study the other night. My complaint is needing too much sleep, being sleepy during the day, and having a hard time waking up. So it's extra-ironic that I, a champion sleeper in regular noisy/bright locations, could. not. fall. asleep. during the study. Have you dealt with this? Any tips or tricks?

Mostly I couldn't shake the feeling of being watched. There was an intercom and a few times the lab tech would try to talk to me during the night, asking if there was anything I needed to help me fall asleep. I found this incredibly unnerving, as I knew they were watching me (or at least my brain waves) and that I wasn't asleep yet and that just made it worse.

The wires themselves weren't that bad. But the elastic band around my upper chest gave me a constricted feeling, like I couldn't breathe in deeply enough. I wasn't sure if it was okay to loosen it or not. Eventually I did anyway, and it helped a bit, but not enough.

All in all, I lay in bed with my eyes closed for many hours, feeling quite sleepy and just waiting for my brain to shut off, but it never did. I was able to doze for about 4 hours total, but it was very light and nervous sleep. Again, normally I sleep like a log and it's waking up that's the problem.

Would it help to get less sleep the night before to make sure I'm very tired? Can I try wearing earplugs? Supposedly I can request a sleeping pill, but I have NEVER needed a sleeping pill to fall asleep before, and I don't know how it will affect the nap study that they want to perform the next day.

Bonus question: anyone know if MassHealth (my insurance) would pay for a failed sleep study, and whether they'd pay for another one?
posted by danceswithlight to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
These sound like questions for whichever physician ordered the sleep study, and for the study center itself.

For what it's worth I also had a terrible time sleeping, and slept so little they couldn't do the split night test for apnea that had been planned. I didn't follow up on it, and I really should have; now it has been so long I would have to start over. (This was in Mass. But I wasn't on MassHealth so I can't answer that question). So, uh, don't be me, know you aren't alone, and ask your medical professionals what to do next.
posted by nat at 1:26 PM on June 21, 2016

Would it help to get less sleep the night before to make sure I'm very tired?

Everyone I know who's done a sleep study has had to skip the previous night's sleep (with no caffeine) so that they are pretty much shredded by the time they get there, so you might speak with them about whether they want you to do that or something similar.

I suspect the sleeping pill they'll give you will be an antihistamine (probably diphenhydramine or doccylamine succinate), not something like Ambien. Just something to get you drowsy, and it'll have a calming effect so you're not so paranoid about being watched, which is tough to ignore.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:36 PM on June 21, 2016

Would you be able to try test runs at home for about four days leading up to your next appointment?
I mean the whole experience-- packing your jammies; driving the same time around the neighborhood; 'arriving' at home; maybe even add a chest strap.
And definitely ask how tight the strap should be next time.
posted by calgirl at 1:40 PM on June 21, 2016

Another failure to sleep here. Well, I slept some, but little enough that they offered a retest with a sleep aid. I was not interested.
posted by SemiSalt at 2:04 PM on June 21, 2016

Alcohol works
posted by tiburon at 2:21 PM on June 21, 2016

I've never used a sleeping pill. World class university prescribed me a sleeping pill for my study. I used it. I fell asleep (seemed like it took me awhile).

Get a sleeping pill.
posted by sandmanwv at 2:37 PM on June 21, 2016

I am a champion sleeper and chamomile tea knocks me out. Would that feel like a more mild solution than a pill?
posted by aniola at 5:30 PM on June 21, 2016

Also spend the whole day out on a long bike ride. Or garden the whole day.

Or do some other physical thing that gets you out moving around in the sunshine all day long beforehand.
posted by aniola at 5:31 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also try sleeping at home with a constricted band, just to get used to the physical sensation of it in an environment you're more familiar with.
posted by aniola at 5:33 PM on June 21, 2016

Ambien. Ask your doctor if it's appropriate. I prescribe it frequently for my patients having an overnight sleep study.
posted by teamnap at 7:21 PM on June 21, 2016

There was a recent study I heard about on NPR that when sleeping in a new place, half of your brain never shuts off because it wants to "stand guard." So a retest in the same location might do the trick (assuming your insurance covers it).
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 5:45 AM on June 22, 2016

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