Your Complete Guide to Sleep Studies

November 5, 2018
Healthy Sleep

There are many signs that you may need to participate in a sleep study. It can be from lack of sleep, too much sleep or inadequate sleep and can actually cause diseases associated with untreated sleep disorders.

If you realize that you are drowsy a lot in the day, it could be a sign that you’re not getting enough sleep at night. You may, on the other hand, be getting too much sleep or inadequate sleep so when you rise you are really tired all day long. Learn about the signs that you should recognize as to who needs a sleep study done and all of the questions to ask as well as what to expect. It’s a simple process that you shouldn’t be afraid of and you can gain answers to get a great nights sleep.

Who Should Have a Sleep Evaluation?

Several things point to a person that needs a sleep study. If you often have trouble getting to sleep or you wake up many times in the night, you would benefit from a sleep study. If someone has ever told you that you snore loudly at night or you pause your breathing or gasp for breath in your sleep, then you are not sleeping well. Do you have strange sensations in your legs at night like itching, aching, pulling, creeping or tingling? These things can cause you to kick your legs at night and wake yourself up repeatedly. If you are so tired in the mornings that you can barely function or can’t function well in the day, then you should have a sleep study done. If you remain sleepy in the day for more than two or three weeks at a time, then you most likely have some sort of a sleep disorder.

How to Start the Process?

Your first line of defense against sleep disorders is to visit your physician. He can evaluate all of the medications you take and the times that you take them to determine if they should be changed in any manner. He can also order diagnostic tests to check for any underlying medical condition that was not discovered before that can affect your sleep. Many chronic medical issues can arise from inadequate sleep including high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, diabetes and depression.

If these measures don’t determine and correct your sleep disorder, then he will most likely refer you to a sleep study physician.

What is a Polysomnogram?

A polysomnogram is a sleep study. After a consultation with your physician or a sleep specialist, you may be referred to a sleep study at a clinic. This procedure is non-invasive and absolutely pain free, in which you wear some electrodes on your head, chest and legs. The electrodes monitor many things while you sleep such as your eye movement that signifies which stage of sleep you are in, your brain wave activity, your muscle tone, your heart rhythm and your breathing while you’re sleeping. Depending on your doctor’s orders, you may receive sleeping medication, a CPAP, or oxygen to wear while you do the sleep study.

How to Prepare for Your Sleep Study

You are usually given a list of instructions prior to undergoing a sleep study. However, you may want to ask some questions in advance. Some pertinent questions are can you take a nap before or on the day of the sleep study? Should you avoid caffeine or any other foods and beverages? What can you eat before the sleep study? Should you avoid prescription or non-prescription medications before hand? What do you bring to wear and can someone stay with you during the polysomnogram? Can you take personal items like snacks, slippers etc. with you? When will your results be back on the sleep study?

You should also check with your insurance company to see if your sleep study is paid by them. Some will not pay for a sleep study unless it is an approved facility and is conducted by a registered technologist.

How are Sleep Problems Treated?

Your physician will read the results from your sleep study and determine a course of action based on your results. Your doctor may prescribe sleeping medications or discuss your particular sleep environment at home. Some people wake often at night from hearing any tiny noise while others sleep very deeply. He can also address any issue you may have with getting to sleep or staying asleep at night.

What is the After Care?

It’s very important to follow up with any appointments you may have with your physician or a sleep study clinic after your initial sleep study. If you receive medications, your physician will likely want to see you several times to discuss how they are working for you. If a disease is discovered, your doctor will need to follow up to see how the treatments are working for you. In some instances, you may need to do an additional sleep study to determine the effects of your treatments and any behavioral approaches that are different after your sleep study.

Your treatment can involve using a CPAP while you sleep if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, which helps you breathe properly while you are sleeping. It holds the air passages in the nose and mouth open to eliminate snoring and keep you from waking up and gasping for air. Most sleep apnea patients need several adjustments on the equipment to get the best fit for the device so they continue to use it. You will also need to understand how to clean your device thoroughly so as to avoid respiratory illnesses.

A sleep study isn’t a scary treatment in any manner. The clinic or facility has rooms in it for the patients that look just like any ordinary bedroom for your comfort. It could help you to get the great nights sleep you desire by a diagnosis and help you to feel rested and ready to move in the mornings.

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