A sleep study records your body’s reaction during sleep. The test is used to diagnose various conditions that interfere with your ability to get a good night’s rest, including sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
Sleep studies are typically performed in a sleep center or hospital, but you can also conduct an at-home sleep study with equipment sent by the doctor.
How to Prepare for a Sleep Study
It is quite crucial to get a good night’s sleep before you arrive at the sleep center. You should not eat or drink anything containing caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine on the day of your appointment. Also, do not take any sleeping pills the night before your test.
The following night, wear loose clothing that doesn’t interfere with the sensors on your chest and back. Sleep in dark-colored pajamas so that it’s easy for technicians to see any movements during the study.
Related: Sleep disorder Specialist Florida
A Sleep Apnea Test Helps Detect Sleep Disorders
Sleep apnea tests help doctors diagnose sleep disorders and determine your best treatment option. The most common sleep study type is overnight polysomnography or PSG.
A portable device will monitor your blood oxygen levels, eye movement, heart rhythm, and breathing rate as you sleep. You’ll use this device for about three hours before going to bed or returning home from the center.
In this way, doctors get enough information about your sleeping patterns to diagnose any issues with getting proper restful slumber at night or during naps throughout the day.
The device may also record sounds from inside, such as snoring or talking/breathing difficulties caused by another person who sleeps nearby but doesn’t have any problems themselves.
Related: Can CPAP Fix Insomnia?
Sleep Center vs. At-Home Sleep Study
As you can imagine, a sleep study performed at home is less expensive and more convenient than one performed in the lab. However, the results could be more accurate because of environmental factors such as noise or light pollution.
Additionally, you need help falling asleep or getting comfortable in bed. In that case, this could skew the results of a home sleep study and lead to inaccurate conclusions about your sleeping habits.
A lab-based test is more thorough and precise than a test at home, but it’s also more expensive. The equipment used in these tests is designed specifically for use by trained professionals who know how to operate it properly without causing any harm to their patients (or themselves).
A lab-based test may also be necessary if your doctor thinks that there may be other issues contributing to your insomnia, such as heart problems that need further investigation.
Related: Insomnia and Sleep Apnea
Tests Performed During Sleep Study
A sleep study may include tests to evaluate your breathing, heart rate, and other functions. These tests can be performed during a home sleep test or in a hospital or clinic during an overnight stay.
The nasal cannula is connected to the oximeter, which measures how much oxygen you are getting at any moment. Electrodes will also be placed on your chest for heart rhythm analysis. Your physician may order additional tests based on what is found during the study or because of your symptoms.
After your sleep study is complete, you will meet with the doctor who performed it to discuss the results and make treatment recommendations. Your doctor might recommend that you see a specialist for evaluation and treatment if your condition is severe enough. This could include:
- A sleep medicine doctor (also called a pulmonologist)
- An insomnia specialist
- A home sleep apnea test (HSAT). This at-home device is used to check for obstructive sleep apnea, which can cause snoring and fatigue during the day due to frequent pauses in breathing while sleeping. If this device finds that you’re experiencing severe symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, then additional testing will be required to determine if surgery is needed.
How Many Times Will I Wake Up During a Sleep Study?
You will get woken up four to six times during a sleep study. Most people get woken up two to three times, but others may get woken up as many as six times. The number of times you get woken up depends on your study type and whether it’s a polysomnogram or an overnight sleep recording.
We hope this article has helped you understand what a sleep study is and why it is an important part of treating sleep disorders. If you think you might have a sleep disorder, please contact us today! You can also consult a doctor online to evaluate whether or not testing is right for you.
SleepRx‘s expert team of physicians and technicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating all sleep problems will assist you throughout.