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Catching some Zzzs at the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center

Chronic sleep problems affect an estimated 70 million Americans, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among those who have trouble sleeping soundly is KQED reporter Scott Shafer, so he recently spent the night at the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center to better understand what was keeping him from resting easy.

Shafer describes his experience staying overnight at the clinic and analyzing his sleep results with Stanford's Rafael Pelayo, MD, in a new segment on the California Report. In describing what it's like to snooze at a sleep clinic, he says:

It was time to get ready for bed, no small thing at the Sleep Medicine Center. I went to my room -- called simply Sleep 18. Technician Robert Tognoli hooked me up with 28 wires in all -- attached to my legs, my head, my abdomen - all of it designed to sense and measure my breathing, eye motions, blood oxygen, snoring, leg and chest movements.

Tognoli told me the wires would monitor the phases of my sleep, when I dreamed and if there were any “interruptions to my sleep architecture,” as shown by my brain waves. Then he stuck all the wires into a box that he hung around my neck. Next, he turned on a machine that blew air to dry the glue holding the wires attached to my head. Finally, I was ready to hit the sack. How did I sleep, and what story did all those wires tell?

Listen to the full segment to find out what Shafer learned from spending a night at the clinic and why it can be tricky to accurately evaluate one's quality of sleep without having a lot of data.

Previously: Stanford center launches Huffington Post blog on the “very mysterious process” of sleep, Study: Parents may not be as sleep-deprived as they think, Exploring the effect of sleep loss on health and How lack of sleep affects the brain and may increase appetite, weight gain

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