All-night sleep study
The quality of an individual’s sleep can be determined by an all-night sleep study. This laboratory test is conducted under the supervision of a physician who specializes in sleep health. The study helps the doctor diagnose and treat possible sleep issues, including neurologic disorders, a problematic amount of physical movement, and breathing disorders.
After initial consultation with the patient, a sleep physician may recommend this study (also called a polysomnogram), which is conducted in our sleep laboratory.
Prior to sleep, electrodes are applied to the scalp, sides of the head, and under the chin, chest, and legs. From the electrodes, signals are relayed to a control room, where atechnologist measures brain waves, heart rate, and eye movements. A sensor is placed by the nose and mouth for measurement of airflow. Belts are positioned around the rib cage and abdomen for measurement of breathing movements. A clip is placed on a finger for measurement of blood oxygen levels. Other measurements may be done as required. And, all patients are videotaped while asleep.
There are no needles and no pain. Overall, the study process is reasonably comfortable for the patient.
From the control room, the technologist monitors the patient’s sleep and overall condition. If a problem arises, the patient can easily call the technologist, who is just a few seconds away.
For patients diagnosed with sleep apnea, the effects of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) are evaluated. A mask attached over the nose (or nose and mouth) helps the technologist find a pressure level that holds the airway open and allows the patient to get a good night’s sleep.
Patients generally leave the laboratory between 6 and 6:30 a.m. However, earlier wake-ups can be accommodated as well.
Sleep study test results are scored by the technologist and sent to a sleep physician for interpretation. The entire process takes seven to 12 days. The interpretation is sent to the physician who ordered the sleep study, and appropriate follow-up is arranged.
Pediatric sleep study
These studies also benefit children experiencing sleep-related problems. Typically, the child and a parent arrive at the laboratory about 8:30 p.m. There they are met by the sleep technologist and given a tour of the lab. The monitoring devices are placed on the child as they are on adults, and the study lasts at least six hours. The parent (or parents) are encouraged to stay the night, and sleep in a neighboring room.