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The first things Emilie noticed in the lab besides computers and grass machines in the technician's area of the lab were the coffee pot and the papers of reports.
Technicians usually work either night or day shift, not both. (1) When someone is absent, another worker will fill in for him. Some daytime technicians will work during the night while doing part of a research project.
Carole works nights only as a substitute and finds it difficult to adjust to the night shift. Lawrence Allen is also a daytime shift sleep lab technician at Bayview sleep lab , but when working on a research project, he will work during the night. While in the Army, he studied circadian rhythms and jet lag. He uses a few tricks he learned there, such as avoiding caffeine, when working the night shift. Following these tips to establish a good routine takes planning and discipline.
Technicians keep track of patients' sleep . They note the time when the patient is starting to sleep. They record any important events during the night as well as what is happening to the sleeper at certain timed intravels. They watch the data as it is recording to make sure the equipment is running smoothly. They can view the patient with a video monitor, to make sure everything is okay . Sleepwalking rarely occurs at the sleep lab, but night terrors do still happen.
Some of their patients suffer from sleep apnea . The yellow line at the bottom of the data on the computer shows the breathing pattern. When the line is flat, the patient has stopped breathing. An apnea, or pause in breathing, will often last 30 seconds in patients with sleep apnea. Carole has seen some lasting up to a minute and a half!
(1) Information in this section is based primarily on:
Nadeaux, Carol, and Lawrence Allen. Interview of sleep lab technicians by Emilie Sutterlin. Baltimore, Maryland, visit to the Bayview Sleep Disorders Center, Johns Hopkins University, Feb. 5, 1999.[an error occurred while processing this directive]