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What is involved in a sleep study?

What are the different types of sleep studies?

After a consultation with one of our physicians, patients referred to NPMC Sleep Center may be scheduled for an overnight sleep study in our lab. This allows patients to be monitored overnight by noninvasive equipment that measures sleep, respiration, snoring, muscle activity, heart rhythm and position. On the day of the sleep study we encourage patients to:

1. Not drink caffeinated beverages or nap after noon on the day of the study.
2. Wash hair, shower and shave before coming in. This helps us obtain quality signals throughout the night.
3. Bring a list of medications including names and doses. If medications are taken at night, bring these to the study, because we are not able to dispense medications in the Sleep Disorders Center lab.
4. Bring things from home that will make them comfortable - a book, a favorite pillow or blanket.
5. Wear pajamas that have a separate top and bottom to accommodate the monitoring sensors.

Extensive information is collected during a sleep test; therefore it may take several days to get a final report. A patient's sleep physician will receive a preliminary report the morning after the test and the patient will receive the results at the time of a follow-up visit. Patients should call their sleep physician's office to make a follow-up appointment after the sleep study if one has not been scheduled.

Diagnosing and treating sleep disorders involves more than sleep testing. Our sleep physician will work with patients to develop a treatment plan, which includes follow-up appointments to monitor progress and address problems. Our sleep physician will send the results of evaluation, test results, and follow-up to their primary care physician. We will also work with the patient's other health care providers to help reach the best possible outcome.

There are four kinds of sleep studies which are done at our sleep center. Most commonly, after a consultation patients come in for an overnight sleep study to determine a diagnosis.

Overnight Sleep Study
This study is known by physicians as a polysomnogram. During this exam, sensors are placed on your head, face, legs and chest in order to record physical measurements, eye and leg movements, and muscle tension. This study can be used for the detection of sleep related breathing disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. Additionally, an overnight sleep study can assist sleep specialists in looking for behaviors during sleep that can be violent or harmful to yourself or others.

CPAP Study
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a device used in the treatment of sleep related breathing disorders. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea after the overnight sleep study, a follow up CPAP study will be needed to correctly calibrate your CPAP device.

The Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT) is used to measure your alertness during the day. You will be free of all outside factors that can influence sleep such as light and noise, and then tested to see whether or not you are able to stay awake for a defined period of time. These results indicate how well you can function in a quiet and inactive environment, as well as your ability to perform daily tasks such as driving. Additionally, a MWT can help us determine how well a sleep disorders patient is able to stay awake after starting treatment.

The Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) is a nap study which is used to determine your level of daytime sleepiness. You will be asked to try to fall asleep in a quiet situation during the day and the speed of which you fall asleep will be observed. Excessive daytime sleepiness – defined as feeling sleep at a time and place when you should be awake and alert — can be attributed to sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and other sleep disorder. CPAP is a common treatment for excessive daytime sleepiness.

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