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Assessing the ZZZs in Wolseley

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Wolseley’s Sherbrook Street stretch serves you early (The Nook and Stella’s at 7 a.m), or late (Cousin’s to 2 a.m., Fitzroy till beyond midnight) and, for some people, all through the night at the provincial Sleep Disorder Centre, located at the Misericordia Health Centre.

Every night, 10 people who’ve been referred for a full sleep study by their physicians or the Sleep Disorder Centre’s sleep clinic, have a sleepover. They’re tucked in after 9 p.m. and their sleep is monitored by an assigned polysomnographic technician until around 7 the next morning.

About two weeks later, one of the sleep physician specialists from the University of Manitoba’s Department of Medicine meets with the person. They discuss the results and any recommended treatment.

Recently, I spent a fascinating, if fitful, night at the clinic (I’d complained to my physician about sleep disturbances). When I later told sleep physician Dr. Martha Shepertycky it wasn’t my best sleep ever, she smiled, "this isn’t a hotel."

True, the Sleep Disorder Centre offers no caffeine, alcohol, or food. But there’s a private room (bathroom down the hall), firm bed, extra blankets and you can bring your own pillow. Pre-testing documentation instructs, in red uppercase print: "SLEEPING IN THE LAB WITHOUT CLOTHING IS NOT AN OPTION!"

Still, I was made as comfortable as possible. Notwithstanding the "hook-up" — seven electrodes glued to my head (measuring brainwaves and eye movement) and taped to my jaw and legs (muscle movement); three electrocardiogram electrodes (heart rate and rhythm); two belts around my chest and abdomen (respiratory efforts); the probe taped to my index finger (blood oxygen levels); electrode taped to my forearm (carbon dioxide); and small hose taped between my nose and upper lip (also carbon dioxide measurement).

Upon "lights out", my polysomnographer, Maria De Matta, also watched me via an infrared camera and listened, by microphone, to my breathing, any snoring, sleep talking (really?), or calls for assistance (none, but she called me, asking I change sleep position).

More than 3,500 Manitobans yearly undergo the full sleep test at the lab. Additionally, some 2,400 are loaned home-testing devices. Although unnecessary in my case, many are prescribed machines to aid with their breathing at night, prescribed medication or instructed on lifestyle changes.

Under the cover of darkness, there’s this remarkable place, in Wolseley, that addresses people’s sleep health. And, as morning follows night, familiar, nearby breakfast spots then open their doors.

Gail Perry is a community correspondent for Wolseley.

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