We've shown you the role sleep has on our physical and mental well being, but just what actually goes on during a sleep study?
For the past six months every morning has begun with a headache for Jay Meyers. And that feeling of being tired seems to stick with him all day long. Ask his wife Lindsey and she'll tell you the snoring has also gotten worse.
"It's waking me up a lot too, I'll wake myself up and just the fact that I'm tired during the day I don't wanted to get any worse where it starts interrupting work and things like that." Said Jay Meyers.
Jay says he's tried everything from different pillows, different temperatures and even working out before bed. So far nothing has helped. He's now turning to the professionals at Avera and getting a sleep study.
"I'm just kind of curious something got to change that's the biggest thing is that I've got to figure out maybe it's just bad sleep habits or something but I'm obviously not getting the right kind of sleep I'm supposed to be getting." Said Meyers.
In order to see what's causing Jay's sleep problems he has to be wired head to toe. Each sensor is specifically placed to pick up brain waves, heart rate, oxygen levels, eye movement and body movement throughout the study. Even with all these wires Jay isn't too concerned about falling asleep.
"Everyone tells me that when they did a sleep study that they slept really well at these sleep studies and they may get woken up a little bit as they make adjustments and things like that but they've assured me that it actually isn't too bad." Said Meyers.
After taking an Ambien, it doesn't take long for sleep to set in and the sensors go right to work. Early on in the study the data pinpoints the problem.
"Here it's clear on this view that the patient quit breathing over here. He took a deep breath, snores quite a bit, but quits breathing. Takes a deep breath with snoring and then quits breathing again. That's what obstructive sleep apnea looks to us." Said Dr. Fady Jamous, a pulmonologist with Avera Medical Group Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine.
These pauses in breathing can vary. Sometimes they are just a short ten seconds, others can last longer than a minute. Jay's longest apneas lasted 40 seconds but what's even more troubling is how often they occurred.
"On average he quit breathing 28 times an hour and anytime people quit breathing between 15 and 30 times we call that moderate. More then 30 would be severe." Said Dr. Jamous.
With all the pauses, Jay is unable to get into that deep REM sleep, which explains his headaches and feeling tired. But with a CPAP mask those problems fade away and he can finally rest easy.
"Here he quit breathing, here he's snoring a lot you can see he's not happy, he's waking up and then here he goes to sleep and then things are perfect." Said Dr. Jamous.
When you stop breathing during the night there are long-term consequences and extra strain is put on your body and brain. The first step is talking with your doctor and seeing if a sleep study is right for you. For Jay it was a no-brainer.
"I just think it's really important because you have to take care of yourself and I have a little one at home and I want to be there when he gets older." Said Meyers.
With his results in hand, he's already making the change and getting some much overdue sleep.
Sleep studies are done to look for a variety of disorders including insomnia, narcolepsy, night terrors and sleep-walking. For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.