Friday, June 29, 2012

Sleep Working


Today I woke up late and went to apply for the cleaning job at the mines that one of my clients had referred me to. The job agent I spoke to was very keen but not particularly impressed with my visa restrictions. Back at the hostel I was running out of time to drink the 2.4 liters of liquid required for the sleep study so I chugged a liter of water and rushed over to the Appleton Institute. There I met up with my fellow lab rats Jordan, Sonya and Elliot - two locals and a Canadian. Stas explained the procedures, gave us a ten minute reflex test (the first of many), a questionnaire about our alertness & mood (also the first of many) and took us on a tour of the facility. After a while they wired us up for bed with electrodes and a head band device that monitors sleep in place of the electrodes (for comparison purposes).

The head band ended up being too tight and, while my attendant attempted to loosen it, it ended up being the first of many issues throughout the night. Right off the start they literally counted down as if to say "ready, set, sleep!" which didn't help. Then, after about 15 minutes sleeping, I woke back up to a severe pressure in my head only to realize that the headband was slowly working its way into my forehead. I figured I could still get to sleep in a reasonable amount of time but, sure enough, after about half an hour or so my bladder decided to keep me up for another hour. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, my stomach began to growl. According to the sleep monitor at my bedside I didn't fall asleep till 2a - a full four hours after lights out... not the best performance considering my only job was to sleep.


This morning they woke us up at 7:30a to eat brekky which consisted of two weat bix, toast and half an apple - all precisely measured out and recorded as such. After a bit more reflex testing and another questionnaire on our alertness & mood we showered and suited up for the bicycles. Our uniforms consisted of standard mining apparel - long sleeve high vis shirts, sweat pants and a helmet. This so that the study would be as authentic as possible for the purpose it was designed (to test the effect of electrolytes on miner re-hydration). Along with the attire we also had to do our "labour" in a 35*C (100*F) room. After a urine sample (the first of many) we began our 2.5 hour indoor bicycle ride. When we finished we did some reading (1001 Natural Wonders to See Before You Die) in between the testing (reflex, mood, urine) and finally at 6:30p we were finished with day one of two. We then proceeded to enjoy a barbie that Greg, one of the project leaders, had set up for our group - snags, Greek salad and lamb chops!

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