Take a sleep study at home

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

Sleep is a necessity – as much as oxygen and water. All living creatures are dependent on getting some sleep every day. Without it, we lose function, and it affects our overall health.

I first started having sleeping issues about eight months ago. Prior to that, it seemed I was always tired – mainly because I’m not the morning person my job requires me to be. But recently, that tired feeling began to feel more like exhaustion.

Every afternoon, I would get the feeling that I had been drugged, and I had to fight to keep my eyes open.

I tried getting more sleep by going to bed earlier.

I even tried sleeping less, thinking maybe that would help.

It didn’t.

I finally mentioned the problem to my doctor, and she suggested I do a sleep study.

The mention of a sleep study immediately reminded me of comedian Jo Koy who had to go to a facility to be tested for sleep apnea. He talked about how the doctors hooked him up to machines, and he had lights and tubes all over him.

He said, “I look like a Christmas tree,” and at that point, he had to find a way to sleep with all the activity going on around him.

It was a funny story, but I was sure I wouldn’t be able to sleep in a strange facility, hooked up to a lot of equipment.

But, for the sake of my health and sanity, I resigned myself to become a Christmas tree. That’s when my doctor told me that I could do a sleep test at home.

How convenient is that?

She put in a order for it and, a few weeks later, I was contacted by VirtuOx, a company that provides sleep test equipment.
I got a small package in the mail, read the instructions and got down to business.

This test monitors your heart and breathing and from that, the technicians can tell if you have sleep apnea or any other issues that cause restless sleep.

The main machine is strapped around the chest, a pulse monitor goes on the tip of your finger and there is a breathing tube, much like a regular oxygen tube.

It was a bit uncomfortable, but it was only for two nights.

I was most concerned about breaking the machine or unhooking the tubes during my sleep.

Despite my concerns, I managed to get through the two nights and sent the machine back for results.

Four to six weeks later, I had a check up with my doctor to go over blood work, and she informed me that my sleep test came back normal. It was bittersweet. I was glad I didn’t have sleep apnea or anything else, but I still didn’t know what was causing my restless nights.

While reviewing my blood work, the doctor said my Vitamin D level was really low, so she prescribed Vitamin D which has helped prevent fatigue during the day, but it hasn’t changed my sleep issues.

My search for answers is not over.

I may become a “Christmas tree” at a sleep test facility in the future, but, for now, I can let others who are “sleep disturbed” know that there is a home test available which might help uncover their problem.

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