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What Does a Sleep Study Involve?

According to the Better Sleep Council, “Half of Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, but less than half of them take any one specific action to help them get better sleep.”

Seeing as healthy sleeping habits are among the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle, it would seem strange that so many Americans are doing so little about their sleeping problems. It’s how our bodies repair themselves, and how our brain stores and processes important information we take in throughout the day. Simply put, it’s what allows us to be able to take on life.

There are some things we can do to help aid our sleeping habits, such as a good mattress or getting to bed at a decent hour. However, there are some things out of our control, like work-related stress or biological factors that unfortunately impede our ability to achieve our much-needed rest. Sleep disorders in particular give millions of Americans trouble while trying to get to bed every year. Common sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Restless Legs Syndrome
  • Night Terrors
  • Narcolepsy
  • Parasomnias

Many people may not even know they have a sleep disorder and will often turn to coffee or other caffeinated drinks to try and cure their symptoms. However, this is only a temporary crutch that has long-term health consequences going into the future. The only real way to properly diagnosis a sleeping problem is by undergoing a sleep study.

What is a Sleep Study?

A sleep study is a professionally administered overnight exam that monitors your sleep behavior throughout the night. The process is completely non-invasive and extremely effective for diagnosing common sleeping disorders.

The primary goal of these studies is to accurately observe your stages of sleep to pinpoint where and when you are having disruptions during the night. Both REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) are monitored during this time. These cycles typically alternate throughout the night and keep our sleep patterns regular.

The most common type of sleep study is a polysomnography. During these examinations, you will report to a hospital or sleep center where you will spend the night. These sleep labs are typically made to be dark and to provide a comfortable night’s sleep for patients during a study. You will usually be allowed to bring personal items from home along with pajamas.

During your examination, sensors are placed on your body and head to monitor various biological processes while technicians study the data coming in throughout the night. An EEG machine will monitor disruptions in your sleep cycle as well as blood-oxygen levels, breathing rates, body movement, eye movement, snoring, and brain activity.

Sleep apnea patients may be required to use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine for extra oxygen. Additional tests may include a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT), which measures the amount of time it takes to fall asleep or a maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT), which measures your ability to stay awake. The data from these tests are then later evaluated by your doctor in order to make an accurate diagnosis.

Some of us who lead busy lives may view sleep as an obstacle or just something to get through to get more work done the next day. However, sleep is incredibly helpful and necessary for both our bodies and minds. Sleep tests are by far the most effective way to a proper diagnosis and, therefore, a proper treatment plan.

Dr. Shukla can offer a range of treatments for whatever sleep disorder may have. To schedule your sleep disorder consultation at his New York offices, contact us today.


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