How Do Sleep Studies Work?

Dr. Dan JensenResearch

How Do Sleep Studies Work?

Dr. Dan Jensen

Following the completion of his undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University, Dr. Dan Jensen trekked to the University of Nebraska, where he received his dental degree in 1996. After he received his degree, he worked with his dad (Dr. Bruce Jensen) for five years until he moved to Alaska, where he practiced dentistry for six years. Utah family life soon called his name again and Dr. Jensen moved back to Utah where he opened up his own practice in Kaysville, UT.
Dr. Dan Jensen

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Most people aren’t consciously aware of their sleeping habits and breathing patterns when they sleep. A sleep study is an overnight test at a sleep lab where doctors determine whether you have any sleep problems. A polysomnogram is the most commonly used type of sleep study. Polysomnographic technologists attach sensors and electrodes on wires to your head and body to monitor possible disruption in your sleep pattern. Elastic belts may also be wrapped around the abdomen and chest to measure breathing patterns.

Additionally, the technician may place clips on the ear lobe and fingers to measure oxygen levels in the bloodstream. The painless process also monitors muscle tone, heart rate, snoring, brain waves, rapid eye movements, respiratory efforts, leg movements, etc. A sleep study is used to diagnose a range of sleep disorders including sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, insomnia, sleepwalking excessive sleeping, etc. Cycles of Rapid eye movements (REM), non-rapid eye movements (NREM), and sleep stages are monitored by an electroencephalogram (EEG) as you sleep through the night.

Sleep Study Schedule

Usually, patients arrive at a hospital or sleep center between 7 pm and 10 pm and leave between 6 am and 9 am. Times can vary depending on the patients’ preference. Most labs target at least seven hours of sleep for more accurate feedback. Patients must avoid any foods with caffeine and alcohol. Also, the patients should avoid naps during the day of study.

The lab is usually set up to ensure people feel comfortable and relaxed. It is more of a hotel setting than a medical facility. Patients can bring along personal belongings like a book to read and pajamas to increase comfort. If a patient finds it hard to sleep, polysomnographic technologists ensure the wires and all equipment used are as comfortable as possible to make the patient more relaxed. Eventually, most of the patients fall asleep even though it may take some time. They would also detach the wires when patients use the bathroom. The data from a sleep test produces 1000 or more pages of data. A sleep expert will analyze the results and send feedback to the doctor. It usually takes approximately 14 days. The doctor will then determine the best treatment for the patient.

There are various reasons why one would want a sleep study. A night of good night sleep has significant benefits to mental and physical health. How you feel in the morning and during the day is related to the quality of sleep you get at night. Many adults in the world are believed to be suffering from one form of sleep or wakefulness disorder. Sadly, only a few people realize or even seek out medical assistance being oblivious to the repercussions of untreated sleep disorders. Here are a few reasons why one should take a sleep test.

Personal health

Many potential risks come from sleep deprivation. A lot of people may think that losing a few hours of sleep may not be a big deal. This causes harm to your physical health, increasing the chances of getting stress, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc. It also affects mental health, causing depression, mood swings, irritability, etc. A sleep test is a vital step in solving these problems.

Bed-partner’s Health

Many sleep disorders affect a bed partner. Often, they bring up the condition because it has been making them uncomfortable. A common disorder is obstructive sleep apnea. The patient usually snores loudly, disrupting the partner’s sleep. Partners also tend to fear that their loved ones may stop breathing at night, creating a lot of worries. Other disorders that affect bed-partners are; sleepwalking, sleep talking, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD, and Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), making the patient move in bed continuously. Bruxism makes the patient grind his/her teeth tightly during sleep producing an irritating sound.

The procedure is effective and pocket-friendly

Insurance companies have fair coverage costs for issues associated with sleep disorders. Medical expenses have made people leave sleeping disorders untreated. While the price may be high, it is good to check with your insurance firm to see what type of coverage they offer from the study — moreover, there other options like undergoing a home sleep test, which is a third of the cost. Patients who have taken a sleep test feel more energized and alert.