Polysomnography, or also known as a sleep study, is an extensive sleep test used to diagnose different sleep disorders like sleep apnea and insomnia. A free sleep study will record your brain waves, your heart’s oxygen levels, heart rate, breathing patterns, and movement of the eyes and legs while sleeping. Interested? Click here to schedule a consultation.
Understanding Sleep Study
Many sleep disorders can be diagnosed through a free sleep study, but sleep apnea is the most commonly diagnosed disorder nowadays. Doctors suggest taking a sleep study to their patients if they see symptoms of sleep disorders.
How does the comprehensive procedure conclude? Upon arrival at the clinic, you will be designated to your own room for an overnight sleep test. You might notice a monitoring area near the room. That’s where the technicians will record your body’s activities. Apart from a private room, you will also have your own restroom, and you may use it anytime. Just inform the technicians know as you will be attached to wires.
Once you’re ready, you will be wired to different monitoring equipment. The wires may look a little bit uncomfortable but don’t worry, a lot of previous patients have slept with ease despite the wires.
The sleep test can be done at home, but tests that are done in the facility or hospital give more accurate results.
After you fall asleep, the technicians will start to monitor the following:
- brain waves
- leg movements
- eye movements
- heart rate
- body positions
- oxygen levels in the blood
- chest movements
- other noise or movements you make while asleep
You will still be able to make movements in the bed regardless of the wires because they are long enough to let you move freely. A polysomnography technologist will be up all night to monitor your status. If ever you need anything, just let them know, and they’ll be happy to help.
Patients with suspected sleep apnea will have to try the positive airway pressure (PAP) machine to enhance their breathing.
Equipment Used For A Sleep Test
Generally, sleep technicians use surface electrodes that are placed on the patient’s face and scalp. These electrodes will be the ones responsible for sending signals to the monitoring equipment. The signals sent are digitally recorded. Your breathing pattern will also be monitored by a belt placed around your abdomen and chest. Meanwhile, your blood’s oxygen levels will be monitored with the help of a bandage-like oximeter that is attached to your finger.
Sleep Apnea Equipment
Since sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is related to breathing problems, it requires other pieces of equipment such as:
- EEG or electroencephalogram. For brain activity recording.
- EMG or electromyogram. To record the muscle activities like the twitching of the face, teeth grinding, limb movements, and to see signs of REM sleep.
- EOG or electrooculogram. For recording eye movements.
- EKG or electrocardiogram. For heart rate monitoring.
- Nasal flow sensor.
- Snore microphone.
Depending on the patient’s condition, a technician may choose to use particular machines or all of them at the same time.
5 Kinds of Sleep Test
Sleep tests also vary in the individual’s sleep problem. Your doctor might recommend one of the following in accordance with your symptoms:
Doctors typically recommend polysomnograms to patients with suspected sleep disorders before they begin any kind of treatment. Ideally, the sleep study records brain activities, breathing patterns, and muscle activity.
People with sleep apnea, REM sleep behaviors, hypersomnia, delayed sleep phase syndrome, and periodic limb movement disorder are the common patients for a polysomnogram.
Multiple Sleep Latency Test
MSLT is a sleep study used in individuals with excessive daytime sleepiness. The test also measures the person’s ability to sleep quickly in a quiet environment during the day. This kind of sleep test concludes with five scheduled naps at a 2-hour interval in the clinic. To get results, the patient will lie down to try to fall asleep. The machine will determine if how long it takes for them to fall asleep. After 15 minutes of sleeping, the patient will be woken up.
Most of the patients who underwent MSLT are diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia and narcolepsy.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
CPAP is commonly used for patients with breathing problems during sleep. Some of the disorders that it diagnoses include obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and hypoventilation. The test measures the person’s heart rate, breathing, brain waves, and oxygen levels for accurate results.
After the test, the sleep physician will determine the best treatment for the patient.
Split Night Sleep Study
A split night study is a great option for patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea. while other tests examine the patient’s sleeping vitals and habits, this test challenges a person to stay awake.
The test will take place during the day where the patient’s alertness will be measured. Additionally, their ability to stay awake in a comfortable and quiet place.
To summarize things up, people who are experiencing problems during sleep are candidates for a sleep study. People with breathing problems during sleep, difficulty sleeping, and excessive sleepiness may ask for a recommendation from their general doctor.
It’s important to undergo a sleep study to avoid misdiagnosis and incorrect treatments. The sleep study clinics have been very helpful in accurately diagnosing a patient’s condition, allowing their physicians to conduct the right treatments.
If you are experiencing odd sleep symptoms, talk to your doctor about a sleep study.