Insomnia, Snoring, Sleep Apnea

The world and life of a sleep tech

Posts Tagged ‘sleep lab’

You expect me to sleep with all that!

Posted by amykr on January 9, 2009

People who come to the sleep lab always seem to expect the worst. It does not help that their friends have told them all sorts of horror stories and that the internet is full of misinformation. So when most people come in they are usually either totally clueless as to what will happen or they are terrified that we are going to tie them to the bed and attach all sorts of things to them. Really a sleep study is not bad at all.

The first thing you should know is that at my sleep lab we our rooms look like your bedroom or a hotel room. There is a queen size bed and a flat screen tv in each room. People do not need to share rooms. However you also can not share your room with your spouse. I know you wives out there are excited to have a snore free night to yourselves.

The next thing you should know is that we do attach some wires to you with tape and paste. These wires are so we can monitor the electrical activity in your brain and in certain muscles. The wires are very thing with a cup or a snap at the end. They are tied together in a bundle so that you will not get tangled in them. I have never ever lost a patient do to self hanging during a sleep study. I also use sticky pads like when you have an EKG done.

The third thing you should know is that the tests are recorded for sound and video. This is so the physician can see and hear anything unusual. There are people who act out their dreams and who sleep walk that we need to have on video. This way the doctor can see what was going on and will be able to get the proper diagnosis.

The fourth thing you should know is what we are looking at while we, the technician and the physician, are sitting at the computer. We have 6 channels that look at brainwaves from different portions of your brains. We monitor your eye movements so we can tell when you are dreaming (do not worry we never see what you are dreaming.) We have three wires on your chin to monitor for teeth grinding. We monitor your heart and your oxygen levels. We monitor your leg movements to see if you have leg movement or leg cramps during the early part of the night. We monitor your snoring to see how loud it is. And finally we monitor your breathing with two belts, one around your chest and one around your belly. We also put on a thermister and pressure transducer to monitor your breathing in and out of your nose and mouth.

Finally you should know about the CPAP but I will leave that to another blog entry because there is so much to talk about just with that. I will also talk about what conditions we are testing for. I think people should know we are not just looking for sleep apnea.

I hope this makes you feel a little more comfortable about what will happen when you arrive at our lab. You are always welcome to visit any time you are in Apopka.

One of the rooms at Emery Sleep Solutions

One of the rooms at Emery Sleep Solutions

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The Year of Change for Sleep Techs

Posted by amykr on December 23, 2008

published at http://www.advanceforsleep.com
Published December 22, 2008 3:02 PM by Amy Reavis

As a respiratory therapist and as a sleep tech, I do not think I have ever seen a year with as many changes as this year has brought us.

We started the year on the right note. We knew that competitive bid was coming. Then came the issue of home sleep studies. Following closely on its heals was licensure and respiratory credentials for sleep technicians. And just when you thought we had enough curve balls to handle, the economy tanked and people could no longer afford their co-pays or lost their jobs and their insurance.

I have had many friends and know several labs that were affected by all this change. It is a lot to take in. Many people I know have ignored it or believe that it will not affect them.

As a whole, sleep does not have a strong advocacy group. We have the AAST but many people do not belong. We also have a large group of respiratory therapists who belong to the AARC, which has a much stronger voice.

You do not see state associations in and very few regional ones. I know living in Florida there are two regional associations but then it seems they are competing with each other for members.

We do have some great highlights though. We have several professional magazines, one really phenomenal message board, binarysleep.com, many people who are creating CEU and college programs to teach sleep in a formal setting, and many truly dynamic people who are bringing our profession to a whole new level.

I remember when respiratory was going through the same issues. There were many people who were trained via on the job training; we had credentials but we were not licensed. Those of us who got our AAS degrees were asked why. Why take the RRT? Why worry when we are needed?

I believed in the field of respiratory and was very passionate about it. And I encouraged people to get their credentials because eventually we would be licensed. When that day came, I lost several co-workers because they refused to take the test. I remember all of this and I see history repeating itself.

This is why I know that sleep will do well. Because history shows that these young medical fields are important and that as we grow and change we not only survive but thrive.

I challenge every tech out there to do something great for our field this year. If we work together, publish papers, create state societies, or help new technicians, we will be a strong and healthy profession.

posted by Amy Reavis

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Snoring and a Restful Sleep

Posted by amykr on December 22, 2008

With greater research going on we are finding new reasons why people are tired during the day.  A research study was publish in the Chest magazine compared daytime sleepiness in snoring patients as it related to obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.  The findings were not necessarily what were expected.

 

The conclusion was that snoring independently affects daytime sleepiness and was not related to sleep apnea.  What does this mean?  It can mean many things.  It can mean that snoring itself needs to be taken seriously as it can cause an increase in the level of fatigue a person feels.   When a person experiences increased fatigue the chances of a work related accident or car accident will happen.  There is still the chance that the person has sleep apnea which has its own set of issues.  And finally the feeling of well being overall is very important and the need for a good nights sleep is necessary.

 

If you find that you are snoring take an Epworth test.  It will give you a good idea how tired you are and if you need to talk to your physician about sleep.

 

 

Sleep Disorder Screening Questionnaire

 

Please complete and return to your physician

 

Name:________________________________                     Date:_______

 

 

How likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations?

 

0 = would never doze

1 = slight chance of dozing

2 = moderate chance of dozing

3 = high chance of dozing

 

Circle the appropriate number

Situation

Chance of dozing

Sitting and reading

     0    1      2       3

Watching TV

     0    1      2       3

Sitting, inactive in a public place (e.g., a theater or meeting)

     0    1      2       3

As a passenger in a car for an hour without a break

     0    1      2       3

Lying down to rest in the afternoon when circumstances permit

     0    1      2       3

Sitting and talking to someone

     0    1      2       3

Sitting quietly after lunch, without alcohol

     0    1      2       3

In a car, while stopped for a few minutes in traffic

     0    1      2       3

 

                                                                                             Total from above: _____ (>9?)

________________________________________________________________________

 

Do you often feel sleepy during the daytime?                  Yes     No

 

Do you snore, or has anyone ever told you that you snore?         Yes     No

 

Has anyone ever told you that you stop breathing during sleep? Yes     No

 

Do you ever have a choking or gasping sensation during sleep? Yes     No

 

Do your legs ‘kick’ during sleep?                                               Yes    No

 

 

Return form to your physician

 

 

 

 

Malin Svensson, MD, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Akademiska sjukhuset, SE 751 85 Uppsala, Sweden;.  2008;134(5):919-924.  ©2008 American College of Chest Physicians

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Breathing is Optional

Posted by amykr on December 19, 2008

There are many nights when I perform sleep studies and I realize that my patients in their sleep think breathing is optional.  You know the people I am talking about.  They will never admit it but you have heard them.  Snore, Snore, Louder Snore, Louder Snore then silence, followed by a loud inhale. This happens over and over again all night.  But this is not how everyone with sleep apnea sounds.  Some people do not snore.  Some people just have shallow breathing that cause decreases in their oxygen levels.  All of these cause a great deal of stress on the body.

It is why I love helping my patients so much.  Tonight I had a patient stop by the lab to tell me how wonderful he is feeling since we have treated his sleep apnea.  He has never felt so well rested or so energentic.  That is the type of things I enjoy hearing. 

It is always my pleasure to take a person who thinks breathing is optional to a person who can really get a great night’s sleep and feel like the can conquer the world the next day.

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