If your symptoms involve excessive chronic snoring, (click here if you would like more information about how snoring affects your sleep) pauses through sleep, drowsiness, falling asleep at inappropriate circumstances or a variety of other sleep-related disorders, having a sleep study conducted can assist you to get to the root of your ailment, and start receiving the treatment you need to improve your life.
But “What is a sleep study, how does it work, and how can I prepare for it?” This article will help answer these questions and more to help you better understand the processes involved in your upcoming sleep study.
Prepare for Your Sleep Study
Most sleep clinics ask you to talk about your nightly routine to get the best results. If you over-prepare or do different things leading up to your sleep study, the outcomes may not be that precise as if you stick to your routine. It might sound odd, but a sleep tech wants to see you at your worst so that they can prescribe the best treatment. However, there are a few things you will want to do in anticipation for the test:
Arrive shortly before your regular bedtime, approximately between 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. for an overnight study.
Make sure to have dinner in advance and that you are ready for bed.
Bring all of your medications.
Bring those comfortable clothes that you usually wear.
Bring your morning bathroom supplies or appliances.
What Happens During an Overnight Sleep Study?
When you get to the clinic for your sleep study, a registered polysomnographic technologist (RPSGT) will meet you; this person will be conducting your sleep study. They will go over your paperwork, have you fill out any required forms, and review with you what the sleep study will involve. After assembling your health history as well as some vitals like your blood pressure, the technologist will apply monitors to measure the activity in your body as you sleep. It will frequently include:
Wires with a small cup electrodes attached to your scalp with a conductive paste to measure brain activity. It allows the tech know if you are sleeping, and on which sleep stage you are.
Some electrodes will be taped to your face near the eyes and chin to record muscle activity. These electrodes are employed to measure eye movements, which give clues to sleep stages, as well as chin movements which can recognize possible nocturnal teeth grinding as well as other sleep disorders associated with muscle activity.
2 elastic belts will be surrounding your chest and stomach to observe breathing effort.
Also, a nasal cannula (clear plastic tube) and a small heat monitor to measure all your breathing activity.
Electrodes on each leg to measure body movements or muscle activity.
A monitor taped to on of your fingers to monitor oxygen levels during the study.
2-3 EKG monitors to register heart rate and rhythm.
A small microphone near your throat to catch snoring.
Once you have been hooked up to all these machines, the technologist will begin monitoring data from a different room. The tech will communicate with you via an intercom system and first run through a series of tests to calibrate the equipment. When the calibrations have concluded, you are encouraged to sleep.