Sleep is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. Disorders of sleep can lead to stress and reduction in productivity. Sleep study, also known as polysomnography, is one of the methods used for diagnosing sleep related disorders.
Falling asleep happens in stages; the first stage of sleep is NREM (non rapid eye movement) wherein the brain wave slow down and the eyes remain relatively still. NREM is followed by REM (rapid eye movement) stage during which the brain activity increases and the closed eye moves rapidly, this is also the stage where we dream. Many disorders of sleep affect this stage. Complete sleep is a period cycling of NREM and REM at intervals of about ninety minute; about four to six times.
Sleep study is a method by which your doctor gathers information about various variables while you sleep like your heart rate, your breathing rate, whether you snore or not, your brain waves, movement of different limbs during sleep, oxygen level in your blood and temperature. Correlating these variables will help your doctor arrive to a conclusion on the cause of the disorder.
Sleep study is conducted in a special sleep lab which may be present in a hospital or at an independent sleep testing facility. You will be requested to reach the sleep lab by evening; you will be spending the night in the sleep lab. The sleep lab is like a hotel room but with various instruments and cameras to record your sleep effectively. You will be attached to various monitors for the test, they are:
Throughout the procedure there will be technician monitoring these parameters, you will be able to communicate with them if you need assistance.
There are different types of sleep studies like:
Multiple sleep latency test and maintenance of wakefulness tests are done with or after a sleep study to further aid in diagnosis.
Sleep study will be requested by your doctor if your doctor suspects:
To prepare for the sleep study, you will be requested to not nap on the day of the test. Your doctor will record the list and schedule of medications that you have been taking for aiding you in your sleep. It is advisable to follow your normal routine before the test. If possible abstain from strenuous exercise three hours before your sleeping time. Take a set of comfortable clothes with you to the sleep lab, as you will be residing there overnight.
Sleep study is a non invasive tests with nearly no complications. Some individuals may be allergic to the glue used in adhesives to fix the sensors and may develop redness, which resolves on its own.
The results of the sleep study are prepared by and studied by your doctor to reach a tentative diagnosis. Your doctor will discuss them with you and help you decide the further course of the treatment.