What is a Sleep Study and How Does It Work
There are many things in life that we take for granted. One of those is the ability to sleep soundly through the night without interruption. For some people, this is not the case. They may suffer from a sleep disorder that disrupts their normal sleep patterns. If you think you may have a sleep disorder, or if you’re just curious about what happens during a sleep study, read on! In this article, we will discuss what is a sleep study and how it works.
What is Sleep Study?
A sleep study, also known as polysomnography (PSG), is a test that records information about your breathing and body movements during sleep. It can help diagnose disorders such as: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), narcolepsy or restless legs syndrome(RLS). The PSG typically takes place at night in a sleep lab, where you will be hooked up to several devices that will monitor your brain waves, heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels.
The test typically lasts about eight hours, during which time you will be observed by a technician. You may also be asked to keep a sleep diary for one or two weeks prior to the study so that your doctor can get an idea of your normal sleep habits.
If you are found to have a sleep disorder, there may be treatments available that can help improve your quality of life. For example, if you have OSA, you may need to wear a CPAP machine while you sleep to keep your airways open.
Reasons to recommend Sleep Study (Polysomnography)
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor about whether or not you should get tested for sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring that wakes up others or yourself.
- Gasping or choking during sleep.
- Restless sleep and frequent awakenings throughout the night.
- Morning headache.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness, which can cause problems such as trouble concentrating or remembering things, mood swings, irritability and more.
- Obesity. Carrying around extra weight increases your risk of developing sleep apnea.
- High blood pressure. Having high blood pressure raises your risk for many health problems, including heart disease and stroke. Having sleep apnea makes it worse by increasing your heart rate during the night when you’re trying to rest, which can lead to more serious problems like heart failure or an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation.
- Family history of sleep apnea. If one member of your family has been diagnosed with this condition, you are more likely to have it too.
- Being a man. Men are more likely to develop sleep apnea than women, although it can occur in either gender.
- Age. The risk of developing sleep apnea increases as you get older. Source: WebMD
How is Sleep Study going?
Sleep study is going by the following steps:
- Pre-test preparation. You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your medical history and sleep habits, including whether or not you have any symptoms of OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). The doctor may also ask if there are certain medications that might interfere with the study.
- Hooking up the devices. You will be hooked up to several devices that will monitor your brain waves, heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels.
- The test. The test typically lasts about eight hours, during which time you will be observed by a technician. You may also be asked to keep a sleep diary for one or two weeks prior to the study so that your doctor can get an idea of your normal sleep habits.
- Post-test follow-up. After the test, you will meet with the technician again to go over the results. Your doctor will also review them and may discuss any treatment options that are available to you.
Sleep Study Results Interpretation
There are many things that your sleep study results can tell you, such as:
- How long it took you to fall asleep.
- The number and duration of any periods of wakefulness during the night.
- Your heart rate and blood pressure throughout the night. – How often you moved around in bed. – The level of oxygen in your blood.
- Whether or not you had any episodes of apnea (cessation of breathing) or hypopnea (abnormally low breathing).
- How restful your sleep was.
Your doctor will use all this information to create a diagnosis and may recommend treatment options if you have a sleep disorder. For example, if you have OSA, your doctor may recommend that you wear a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine while sleeping to keep your airways open and prevent apnea episodes from happening.
The sleep study will also show whether or not you experienced any other problems during the night, such as snoring loudly or moving around a lot. If so, your doctor can help you find ways to address these issues and improve your sleep quality.
https://www.mayoclinic.org “What is a Sleep Study?”