Polysomnography, or a sleep study, takes place in a bedroom-like sleep lab with diagnostic tools to measure a patient’s brain waves, breathing patterns, heart rate, oxygen levels, and eye and leg movements during sleep.
Sleep studies test nighttime sleep patterns, look for when the person’s sleep is disrupted, and determine whether the patient suffers from sleep apnea or other sleep disorder.
How Is a Sleep Study Done?
The analysis begins with observing the first stage of non-rapid eye movement (NREM). During this stage, brain activity slows down – and this is measured via an electroencephalogram (EEG).
After a couple of hours, the body sinks into rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and brain activity increases considerably. This is also the period of sleep when the most dreaming takes place. The patient’s physical movements and any sudden waking will be tracked during the study.
Over the course of a night, most people go through multiple sleep cycles that alternate between NREM and REM sleep about every 90 minutes. Of course, conditions like sleep apnea (trouble breathing while sleeping) greatly disturb a person’s sleep, and it is one of the main reasons why people seek a sleep study.
Are People Monitoring Me During the Sleep Study?
There will be a low-light video camera for technicians to see what is happening while you’re sleeping. The technicians will first place sensors on your scalp, temples, chest, and legs, that are connected by slim wires to a computer that will log every aspect of the night. The techs will be able to address you at any point, and you can address them as well.
An oxygen clip will be placed on one of your fingers. This will measure the levels of oxygen over the course of the night.
The sensors and the technicians will also track your body’s movements and positions, as well as any snoring or problems with breathing.
Reasons for a Polysomnography
Sleep apnea is the most common reason for a sleep study. A person may constantly wake up not feeling well-rested, and their family members are usually the ones to point out that they sometimes stop breathing or snore awkwardly during the night. The patient usually does not notice because they are sleeping through it.
Other conditions include periodic limb movement disorder, which is also called restless leg syndrome. This causes a person’s leg or legs to thrash about while sleeping, at times waking them.
People who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep may have chronic insomnia, and a doctor may recommend polysomnography to try to ascertain the cause if there isn’t an obvious life-stressor that is causing the sleeplessness. Losing a job, facing a divorce, being diagnosed with an illness, or experiencing a death in the family can all cause problems sleeping.
Sleep Doctors Near Fort Worth
If you have constant problems sleeping or feel inexplicably tired during the day on a regular basis, you may benefit from a sleep study to diagnose your sleep problem.
Contact our team at the Lung & Sleep Specialists of North Texas by calling (817) 594-9993 or request an appointment online. We look forward to helping you get a good night’s sleep again.