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Sleep Lab Technician

Watch patients snooze in a lab to help with their sleep problems.

What does a Sleep Lab Technician do?

A Sleep Lab Technician, sometimes called a Polysomnographic Technician, watches people when they sleep. If that sounds boring, you’ll be surprised. After all, sleep is a funny thing: You may be flying through outer space, climbing Mount Everest, or slaying dragons in your dreams, but while your mind is off on a great adventure, your body is decidedly silent, static, and still (save for the occasional snore, slobber, and shift!). Still, a lot can be discovered from watching someone sleep.

When you’re a Sleep Lab Technician, you watch people sleep not in their bedrooms, of course, but rather in a sleep lab, where Doctors and Somnologists send patients who suffer from sleep disorders. Those disorders include insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and periodic limb movement disorder, as well as strange sleep behaviors such as sleep walking, eating, and talking.

To diagnose and treat these conditions, Somnologists conduct sleep studies, which require patients to sleep overnight in a sleep lab, where they’re observed by you. More than just watching patients, you monitor them. Your duties as a Sleep Lab Technician, therefore, include setting up equipment – such as an electroencephalogram (EEG), which records patients’ brain activity while they sleep – applying electrodes and sensors to patients so you can measure their vitals, and then collecting data about patients’ body positions, brain waves, respiratory activity, and heart rates while they sleep.

Basically, you’re a sleep-themed Historian, paid to document sleep events so Doctors can find – and hopefully cure – the source of their patients’ sleepless nights.