This is what sleep is supposed to look like:
Okay, that's what it's supposed to look like if you're an African cat. The photo more or less illustrates what sleep is supposed to be like: despite the choice of tree as a bed, this kitty looks comfortable and content.
This is what my daytime sleep looked like yesterday:
I went in for a sleep study to determine whether I suffer from sleep apnea. What the above photo fails to convey is the fact that I had two dozen wires glued - literally glued - to my head, face, neck, chest and legs. The adhesive stunk a baker's dozen times worse than any jar of rubber cement or freshly-opened permanent marker, and required blasts of frigid air to complete the sealing process. I give the nurse credit for making the wiring process as not-awkward as possible, but it was still uncomfortable and un-fun. When finished, I felt like I looked more like this:
From there, I was put in a room described in the paperwork as comfortable, which despite a pathetic attempt to add decor still felt like a hospital room. The nurse plugged in my wire-bundle to a machine, had me lie down and made sure everything worked before turning the lights out. I had been led to believe I would be able to read or listen to music, anything to help me get to sleep. These options were never offered, though perhaps they would have been available on request. At least I had a fan to provide ambient noise.
"But what about a mid-sleep urge to relieve the call of nature?" you ask. That option was always on the table, though it would have required calling out to the nurses via intercom, asking them to unplug me for the short jaunt to the facilities. I don't think so, Tim.
To prepare for the study, I slept less the day before and skipped my usual pre-work nap in an effort to make myself as sleepy as possible. Fortunately, it seemed to work as I got to sleep relatively quickly. The sleep itself was decent- not the best, but at least I felt rested when the nurse came in roughly 6.5 hours later to wake me up. As one who does not favor sleeping on my back, I was worried about the study's requirement that I sleep on my back for some duration; this, thankfully, did not pose any real problem.
Also, this is more or less what the ceiling in my room looked like:
There were a number of video- and audio-capturing devices scattered about, all to record the sights and sounds of my slumber. I hope I was entertaining.
So after waking up, de-wiring myself and filling out a short survey of my experience (not exactly a Holiday Inn comment card, but close), I went home and proceeded to attempt (in vain) scrubbing all the leftover wire-glue from my scalp. You would think, in this glorious techno-age of prenatal heart surgery and lunar exploration that someone would have invented a sleep-study-wire adhesive soluble by shampoo or soap. Alas, if there is one it is not to be found at University Hospital. A medium-toothed comb managed most of what a shower did not do in removing glue from my hair (though there was still the odd piece to pick out for the rest of the evening).
Now, the waiting game is afoot. I don't know how long it will take for results to be compiled, analyzed and conveyed, but I do know this: regardless of the results, you will not find my face covered in one of these:
Unless the doctor says, "Without a CPAP machine you will die in four days," I plan on sleeping maskless for what remains of my duration on this green earth. Even if the doc warns me of impending demise should I refuse the mask, I'll probably skip it anyway.
So that ordeal is over, never to be repeated if I have my way. Now, I can get back to what sleep should be like. Cue the bat!