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Sleep Study

Sleep Study

POLYSOMNOGRAPHY

sleep study, also known as polysomnography (PSG), is a medical test used to monitor and evaluate various physiological parameters during sleep. This diagnostic procedure is employed to identify and assess sleep disorders, monitor sleep patterns, and gather essential data about a person's sleep-related physiological activities. 

Purpose

Sleep studies serve several purposes, including:

  • Diagnosis of Sleep Disorders. Sleep studies help diagnose various sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), narcolepsy, insomnia, restless legs syndrome (RLS), and parasomnias (sleep-related behaviors like sleepwalking or night terrors).

  • Evaluation of Sleep Quality. They assess the quality and structure of sleep, including sleep stages (e.g., rapid eye movement [REM] sleep, non-REM sleep) and any disruptions.

  • Identification of Health Risks. Sleep studies can identify health risks associated with sleep disorders, such as the cardiovascular risks associated with OSA.

Procedure

The sleep study usually takes place overnight, but this may vary according to what your medical professional advises. Be sure to bring enough supplies to last through the duration of your appointment. Typically, patients arrive at the clinic in the evening and are prepared for the study by a sleep technologist. Electrodes, sensors, and other monitoring equipment are attached to specific areas of the body. The patient is then monitored while sleeping.

 

During a sleep study, patients are connected to various monitoring devices that record physiological data, such as:

 

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG): Measures brain activity and helps determine sleep stages.

  • Electrooculogram (EOG): Records eye movements to detect REM sleep.

  • Electromyogram (EMG): Monitors muscle activity and body movements.

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): Tracks heart rate and rhythm.

  • Respiratory sensors: Record breathing patterns, airflow, chest and abdominal movements, and oxygen levels.

  • Snoring microphone: Detects snoring sounds.

  • Limb movement sensors: Track leg and arm movements during sleep.

 

Sleep studies differentiate between different sleep stages, such as REM and non-REM sleep (which is further divided into several stages). This information helps diagnose sleep disorders and evaluate sleep quality.

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Other concerns?

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Preparations

Here are some tips for preparing for a sleep study:

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the 24 hours leading up to the study.

  • Get a good night's sleep the night before the study.

  • Bring comfortable pajamas and toiletries.

  • Bring a book or other activity to do if you have trouble falling asleep.

  • Let your doctor know about any medications you are taking.

Diagnosis

The results of a PSG can help your doctor diagnose a variety of sleep disorders, including:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), read more about OSA here

  • Central sleep apnea

  • Narcolepsy

  • Restless legs syndrome

  • Periodic limb movement disorder

  • REM sleep behavior disorder

  • Insomnia

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