There are a few basic things the doctors tell you when you’re going to the hopsital for a sleep study.

1. Don’t drink caffeine after 2pm. Easy enough, I stopped drinking caffeine during the week so I could sleep at night.

2. Take a shower, make sure your body and your hair is clean. I thought that this made sense considering people were going to be touching you all over. So okay.

3. Bring your jammies! Well, something comfortable to sleep in.

4. Bring all the drugs that you normally take to put you to sleep. Me? I came armed with a bottle of melatonin. It might as well have been a bottle of air pills.

My sleep study took place at a hospital, and as far as sleep studies go – this was supposed to be the cadillac. Valet parking. Free breakfast. Large rooms. Heated seats. The works.

After I gave my car keys away, I took the elevator up to the floor where people sleep. After signing a few forms, taking some photos of my face and neck size (in case they needed to come in with some anti-snoring tools – ha!) and apparently skipping a video that was supposed to be important, I was kissing Kev good bye and sent to the back with a bunch of lifers.

These weren’t lifers in the normal sense, they didn’t actually live there. These guys were sleep apnea guys. Tough guys. One of them was fresh out of surgery to help fix his snoring and the other one, who looked like Vin Diesel, was coming in to try out a new mask. We all stood around holding our pillows, but they didn’t really mean it. They had been there before. I was holding onto my pillow because I had suddenly turned 7 years old and was scared about sleeping in a new place.

The best part was when Vin Diesel asked me how bad my snoring was.

“Oh, no. I don’t snore.”  I rearrange furniture in the middle of the night while you’re sleeping.

Because I was staying in this cadillac I had a fancy room with a private bathroom, which was helpful. I laid out all of my things, and waited.

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My first nurse was nice enough, she coated me with rubbing alcohol (good thing I was clean!) and stuck a billion little circle stickers to my body. Everywhere. Circles on my legs. All over my chest. Some on my neck and all over my face. She wasn’t too chatty, just talking about how she was close to retiring. So that’s reassuring. Plus I was glad to hear the 4pm-12am schedule worked out really nice for her and her family.

My second nurse was probably the nicest woman I’ve ever met. Maybe a saint, I don’t know I’m not religous. She came in with something that looked like a church organ and hooked me up to it with roughly a thousand wires. She parted my hair and drew red lines all over my head. She walked me to the bathroom and helped me get back into bed. Her name was Debbie and she was the greatest. I tried to be really nice to her because I knew she was eventually going to hate me.

I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t even fall asleep for 10 minutes.

I had been ridiculously nervous about this study all day. Not because of what would come of it but because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to sleep. Right after I took the melatonin, Debbie left me and I grabbed a quick snap shot of myself looking ridiculous.

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And then the room was completely dark, except for one red light above me.

The red light is the camera, that’s where Debbie watches you while you’re sleeping. She’s just outside of your room, which is mic’d, so she can hear you breathing too. She has two patients to look after – the kid you came in with that was wearing the Bayside Tigers sweatshirt is on the left monitor sleeping, and you’re on the right monitor staring at the ceiling.

Oh, and you can talk to Debbie. You just say her name, ask her for something and she appears at your door like Mr. Deeds. You don’t even have to pick up a phone.

After a few hours Debbie asked me if I wanted to watch some tv, which I never do but said yes to. A few hours later she came in and unplugged me so I could go to the bathroom. I’m not lying, she was nice.

I remember apologizing profusely to the ceiling. I just couldn’t sleep. If I were a better person I’d say it was because I knew I was taking up a valuable spot in the schedule, laying in a bed that someone else needed to diagnose something serious like a brain tumor. In real life, I just couldn’t imagine someone watching me sleep and I just wasn’t tired. It wasn’t the wires coming out of my face, it was that someone was watching you at your most vulnerable time. I wasn’t worried she was going to see me do something stupid like pick my nose, I was worried I’d have a dream about killing spiders and somehow take all my clothes off.

The sleep study is supposed to be over at 6am, and around 4:30 I finally fell asleep. I sleep on my stomach, so I had managed to face plant on the bed even with wires in my nose. I was dreaming that I was pounding on the bed and yelling like a crazy person. At one point I even woke up a little, covered in drool (which Debbie says is completely normal, thank you!) and feeling vindicated that I did something weird on camera. It didn’t actually happen.

I woke up at 6am to Debbie telling me to wake up over the intercom. The night before I told her that I usually wake up frightened, so she made sure she told me “good morning, it’s time to wake up” Hunger Games style about 7 times. When she came in to unplug me and take the bars off the bed she said I got an hours worth of real sleep.

So, total success.

At 6am they usually let you out to get some breakfast, either at their free breakfast station or outside the hospital but Debbie didn’t want me to leave. My specialist appointment was at 9, and she said I should stay and get some rest. She didn’t want me leaving the hospital knowing that I never slept. And she told me she liked my yellow shoes. I’m telling you, this lady was nice.

I have no idea how I made it through the night there, or how Bayside and Vin Diesel made out. I didn’t sleep walk, or sleep for that matter. The bars on the bed were totally unnecessary. I had watched way to much E!. It took me about an hour to pry all the stickers and gunk off my self, but I had (not really) succesfully completed a sleep study.

I almost wish I had a snoring problem.

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