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Aster's avatar

Are sleep studies a con or did they change your sleeping habits?

Asked by Aster (15864 points ) July 27th, 2014

I don’t need a so-called “sleep study” and wouldn’t get one even if told to. From what I’ve read you are hooked up to machines , which would automatically prevent me from sleeping, then “monitored” all night in a strange bed in a strange place. It seems ridiculous to me but have you had one and it helped you a lot? I read one person who spent three nights during a sleep study. She didn’t sleep the first two nights so what did they do for the third night? They actually gave her an Ambien and she slept like a rock but had no memory of the first three hours after she woke up which included driving home! Not saying it’s simply a way to push tranquilizers off on people but it’s possible . How about your opinion?

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19 Answers

kevbo's avatar

Well, all I can say is that when I had mine, they determined that I was choking in my sleep every thirty seconds and the percentage of oxygen in my blood was 60% instead of 95% or more (which is what is normal), so I’d have to go with “not a con.”

hominid's avatar

A sleep study is necessary to diagnose sleep apnea, which is a real thing like cancer and diabetes.

Pachy's avatar

I did sleep two-night study five years ago. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and sold a CPAP device (both the study and breathing device were mostly covered by insurance). I wound up sleeping even more poorly with the CPAP, so I stuck it in a closet and have never used it since. It was the list of better-sleep tips the doctor gave me that helped me the most.

gailcalled's avatar

@Pachy; It was the list of better-sleep tips the doctor gave me that helped me the most.

Care to share?

elbanditoroso's avatar

The sleep study itself doesn’t change anything. As @hominid said, it’s what they do with the results.

If you are waking every 30 seconds to breathe, they’re going to recommend a CPAP to address your sleep apnea, which will have you sleep much more deeply. That, in turn, has an effect on your health by addressing your hear, your blood, and your brain.

Sleep studies are diagnostic, not a solution in themselves.

Aster's avatar

@Pachy my son in law has sleep apnea, is very obese but refuses to use his C-Pap too saying , “who can sleep wearing a motorcycle helmet that hisses?”

Aster's avatar

@kevbo how did they stop the choking in your sleep? That sounds terrible.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Aster – if that’s the case, he was not given the best solution. CPAPs also use cushions that gently are are on the outside of the nose, as opposed to the whole-nose-covers that hiss a lot. Have him look into the Swift-LT line of CPAP masks.

There are options.

Aster's avatar

@elbanditoroso I can’t “have him” do anything. He lives 150 miles away and I see him twice a year. We are anything but close anyway. He is very independent.

hominid's avatar

@Aster – CPAP is an attempt to help obesity-related obstructive sleep apnea. Losing weight is probably the preferred way to resolve it because it will improve all of the other health problems caused by the extra weight.

But back to your original question – just to be clear, are we good on the diagnostic vs. prescriptive nature of the sleep study, which is a test? The treatment for sleep apnea is a whole other thing.

jonsblond's avatar

It was determined through lung function testing that the percentage of oxygen in my blood was also in the 60% range. My next step will be a sleep study to diagnose sleep apnea, but I’m already pretty sure that’s what I have because I’ve been waking up choking in my sleep and there have been times when I’ll go 30 seconds before I can catch my breath.

I’m wondering if better sleep tips and losing weight would address the problem instead of using a CPAP?

homind just answered that question for me.

Aster's avatar

@hominid sure; I know a sleep study in and of itself cures nothing. It’s a diagnostic tool.

Aster's avatar

@jonsblond as far as I know losing a lot of weight can stop the choking.

gailcalled's avatar

@jonsblond Take a hike

“Rx: 50 mg Nature, *Ad Lib
Doctors are prescribing a walk in the park.”

*Ad Libidum: As much and as often as desired.

kevbo's avatar

@Aster, halfway through, they strapped a CPAP to my face and titrated the air pressure until I breathed normally. I used it for seven years or so and had the best sleep I’d had in a very long time. Before my diagnosis, there were mornings I’d wake up and could barely move. I never flinched at using it, and had a good deal of anxiety about sleeping on those occasions when something went wrong and I couldn’t use it.

Also, @hominid, while it’s probably more common among obese people, it’s not an “obese problem.” It has more to do with neck mass and other factors. Many football players, for example, have sleep apnea because of the neck muscles relax during sleep. If there’s too much mass it collapses the airway.

Conversely, I had a friend who was tall and skinny as a rail. She had sleep apnea, but couldn’t adapt to the mask. After they looked at her results a second time, they determined that she slept fine if she slept on her side. So she devised this tight fitting t-shirt with a ball sewn into the back of it and used that to keep herself off her back in her sleep.

@jonsblond, I haven’t tried them, but there’s at least one video on YouTube of an Indian (dot not feather) doctor demonstrating tongue and throat exercises that can strengthen the parts associated with sleep apnea. There was also a small study that attributed success to practicing didgeridoo, which is very easy to look up.

JLeslie's avatar

My sleep study results were very interesting, and I was lucky enough to have the doctor who read the study talk to me about the results in a very informative and and curious conversation. I don’t regret doing it for a second. It confirmed some things I had guessed, and I learned things I had no idea about.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Ambien is a tranquilizer?

Yes, I’ve been instructed several times to have sleep studies and never have. I am one of those people who USED to have sleep paralysis and hynogenic hallucinations. This was when they didn’t really know much about the phenomena and I didn’t want to be how they learned. Once I realized it only happened when I was sleep deprived and I had nothing to be afraid of, I would just coast through them thinking it was better than any horror film I had ever seen. It’s been years now since I’ve had the experience….........once I finished my graduate work I was able to sleep again.

About ⅓ of people I know over the age of 55 are diagnosed with sleep apnea via sleep study and now sleep with a CPAP machine. There is something wrong with that to me. I just don’t believe man survived all of this time just fine without CPAP machines. I can’t imagine how many people it would ever take to convince me to use one.

By the way, of all of the people I know who sleep with a CPAP, not one of them is obese. I get sick of people trying to make every medical problem about being overweight. Geesh! Having a lot of soft tissue around the neck does exacerbate the problem, but, especially in older people, that does not mean they are fat people.

Are you familiar with pulse oximetry? That is another diagnostic tool for this that is done at home.

Buttonstc's avatar

For those who are adamantly opposed to a C-Pap machine, there are other alternatives.

One would be a consultation with a Dentist who has expertise in dealing with sleep apnea. There is a strong possibility that a mouth guard configured correctly might alleviate the situation.

Others have been helped by a minor surgical procedure eliminating an excess tissue flap causing the obstruction.

And as previously mentioned, certain exercises may also prove helpful.

Just because a particular MD favors a C-Pap machine isn’t an automatic indictment of sleep studies. They merely diagnose the problem. It’s up to the individual to do their research and consult with as many other authorities as necessary to find a workable
solution if you don’t care for the machine.

Ignoring sleep apnea is not a smart thing because over time it can have very detrimental effects upon your heart. And that’s in addition to going through life consistently sleep deprived which has all sorts of deleterious effects.

To say that we lived just fine in past decades without doing anything about sleep apnea is pretty short-sighted indeed.

We have no idea how many died way too early from heart attacks or ended up crashing their vehicles because they fell asleep at the wheel.

If you’re only getting 40% of the oxygen your body needs every night, there is a price to pay eventually. Only a fool would fail to recognize that. It’s just common sense.

You don’t have to be strapped to a machine. There are multiple alternatives if one cares about their long term health.

KNOWITALL's avatar

My husband had seizures due to pooe sleep quality. The sleep study helped us find out why & get correct meds.

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