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Adventures in Sleep

Sleep Study Can Change a Life

Published March 12, 2010 10:56 AM by Amy Reavis

I had a lovely woman come into the lab this past month. She had an Epworth of 24 out of 24. Yup, she was tired. The sad part was she was being treated for depression and her family told her she was lazy. And she believed them.

She didn't know what was wrong with her. Eventually after seeing several doctors, she ended up in my sleep lab. We do an eight-page questionnaire that asks as many questions as I could ever imagine. This includes an Epworth and a medical history. I also get notes from the referring physician about their last visit.

As I went through her questionnaire, I saw that she had signs of cataplexy. You could actually watch her knees buckle when she starts to laugh.

During her first study, she had sleep onset in one minute and REM onset in five minutes. I was so shocked I had another tech look at it to make sure I was scoring it correctly. We had her come back for a second PSG with MSLT and she did the same things again. She also went into REM three out of four of her naps.

What was truly exciting, though, was not the study and not the treatment but that she had a name for something that was wrong. Instead of feeling like a failure, she left feeling like she had a future. She was not the lazy girl who her family teased anymore. She knew there was a treatment and that she could handle whatever needed to be done to feel better.

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About this Blog


    Adventures in Sleep
    Occupation: Sleep technicians
    Setting: Various sleep facilities
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