Most people are not familiar with sleep study procedures and equipment. In the following, we will answer some of the more frequently asked questions about sleep disorders testing. Our goal is to make your sleep study experience as comfortable and productive as possible. If we can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to ask.
Q: What causes sleep apnea?
A: During sleep the muscles at the back of the throat relax, in everybody. In some people the muscles relax so much that the wall of the throat collapses. As the person tries to breathe, no air can get in. Eventually the effort of breathing wakes him up for a short time, and this may happen over and over, more than 100 times per hour, or hundreds of times each night. This describes obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. The persons not aware of waking frequently to breathe, but even mild sleep apnea can cause daytime sleepiness, poor memory and concentration, and depression.
Q: What is a polysomnogram?
A: A polysomnogram is a continuous recording of selected body functions during sleep. The test also records brain waves, eye movements, and muscle tone, which together determine the sleep stages. Heart rate and rhythm, sleep movements, and snoring sounds are also monitored. For possible sleep apnea, we record breathing and oxygen level.
Q:What sensors are applied during the recording?
A: Most of the sensors are small gold-plated disks that are applied to the scalp. Heart rate and muscle movements are monitored using small patches placed on the skin in various locations. Blood oxygen is monitored using a small, lightweight, flexible plastic sensor that is kept on a finger using an adhesive wrap. Air flow is monitored by using a very thin plastic sensor that is placed between the nose and upper lip. Breathing effort is recorded using belts placed around the chest and abdomen.
Q: Will the recording be painful?
A: No. If you have sensitive skin, you may notice skin irritation from electrode paste or adhesive. No needles will be used during this procedure.
Q: Who will be present in the room while I am sleeping?
A: A trained sleep technologist will monitor your sleep from an adjacent room, While you sleep in a private room. The technologist has the responsibility to make your study comfortable and safe while obtaining a high quality sleep recording.
Q: Will the recording procedure disrupt my sleep?
A: We will ask you to sleep some of the time on your back, whereas you may sleep in different positions at home. Also, most people find the sensors to be somewhat bothersome. We know that your sleep in the sleep study setting will not be exactly the same as it is at home. When we score and interpret your sleep study, we will take into account any disruptive effects on sleeping in the sleep study setting.
Q:Will I be given a sleeping pill?
A: No. If you have very significant insomnia at home, your doctor may order a medication to improve your sleep in the sleep study setting. Since these medications may affect other aspects of the test, such as your sleep stages and your breathing, your doctor has to weigh those concerns against the possibility that you may not sleep as long without the medication. PLEASE REVIEW ANY CHANGES IN MEDICATION WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN PRIOR TO TAKING ANY ACTION. If you have any questions about medication, please contact referring doctor.
Q: What should I do on the day of the test?
A: Since the sensors are placed on the skin and scalp, we ask that all patients shower and shampoo their hair before arriving at the lab. Do not apply oil, hair spray, or heavy conditioners to your hair. If you are scheduled for an overnight sleep study, we ask that you remain awake all day on the day of the test -- please do not nap on the test day. Please eat supper prior to arriving for the study.
Q: What happens to my sleep recording after the test is done?
A: A qualified sleep technologist will score your test data, and a designated sleep center physician with expertise in clinical sleep physiology will interpret the results. The results will be forwarded to your physician, usually within 5-10 business days after your study is completed.
Q: What should I bring to my sleep test?
A: USE THIS CHECKLIST TO ASSEMBLE THE ITEMS YOU WILL NEED TO BRING TO THE SLEEP CENTER. We will provide all bedding including sheets, blankets, and pillows.