The National Institutes of Health estimates that there are 50 to 70 millions in America who are affected by sleep disorders. While symptoms are an asset in diagnosing sleep disorders, sleep studies are useful in narrowing down to the actual disorder. Sleep studies are tests used to evaluate how well you sleep and the severity of sleep disorders. Sleep studies are fundamental in evaluating your response to sleep remedies.
Sleep Studies: Where are they done?
Sleep studies are done in a comfortable room that is more or less like a hotel. The environment in a sleep stud room is optimized to your liking for near perfect sleep. The temperature and lighting in the room is regulated. Nurses and technician are available to answer your questions. They will constantly get into the room to monitor how you sleep.
Sleep studies are important in diagnosing the following disorders:
- Sleep disorders that affect breathing such as sleep apnea
- Seizures during sleep
- Parasomnia – abnormal sleep activities such as talking, and walking
Sleep Studies Methods
Here are common methods of gathering data for sleep studies:
In this sleep study, the following data is collected during sleep:
- Heart rate and rhythm.
- Blood pressure.
- Brain activity.
- The level of oxygen in blood.
During a polysomnogram, electrodes are placed on different parts of your body such as scalp, face, chest legs and fingers. Comfortable elastic belts are tied around your chest and abdomen. Elastic belts are used to record movements and the duration of breaths both exhaled and inhaled. The word “electrode” may sound like it has something to do thing electricity but it is harmless. The electrodes collect and transmit data to a central computer.
Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)
This is one of the sleep studies that is done during the day and is usually done after a polysomnogram. The sensor electrodes are placed on your scalp, face, and chin. In an MSLT, brain activity, breathing rate and eye movement are recorded. MSLT shows the state of your sleep stages and how much time you spend in each. The time you take to achieve sleep is also recorded. A normal MSLT will show the two distinct sleep stages: N-REM and REM.
Maintenance of Wakefulness Test
Most sleep studies are done on a bed. The Maintenance of Wakefulness Test is done during the day on a comfortable chair. Electrode sensors are placed on your scalp face and chin. This test measure you ability to stay awake during the day.
You sit on a chair and look in one direction. The aim here is to stay awake for the longest time. Wakefulness test pretty much takes the whole day and is divided in four sessions. Each session last for about 40 minutes and you get 2 hours rest after a trial. The technician or nurse will be looking at you. The staff will watch you doze off but will not allow to sleep for more than 90 seconds.
Home-Based Sleep Studies
These are sleep studies done at home. You will need to pick up the portable equipment from your doctor. Setting up the equipment is pretty easy. However, a technician may help you to set up.
Actigraghy Sleep Studies
This is done to monitor you sleep/wake behavior over a period of time. An actigragh device is worn on the wrist like a watch. You go with it everywhere. It should only be removed when bathing or swimmong.