Polysomnogram (Sleep Studies)

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Polysomnography or sleep study is used to diagnose sleep disorders. A sleep study records brain waves, oxygen levels in your blood as well as your heart rate, breathing, and leg movements.

Sleep studies are typically done at outpatient sleep centers. Most patients will come at nighttime to assess sleep patterns. However, there are times where sleep studies will be done during the day to assess disorder such as shift work disorder and narcolepsy.

Not only are sleep studies done to assess various sleep disorders, they are also done to provide a treatment plan for those individuals who are already diagnosed with sleep disorders.

Polysomnography assesses various sleep stages and patterns and assess why they become disrupted.

Sleep studies are done to assess the following disorders:

  • Sleep disordered breathing-this is typically identified as obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. In this condition patients stop breathing during sleep.
  • Periodic limb movement disorder-during sleep, legs rhythmically move and disrupt sleep. This can also be associated with restless leg syndrome.
  • Parasomnias-these include abnormal behaviors that occur during sleep. This may include walking, acting out dreams etc.
  • Narcolepsy-this is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness
  • There are no major risks involved with this sleep study as this is a noninvasive examination.

You will be asked to arrive at the sleep center in the evening for an overnight stay. You will change into your nighttime clothes and will then be set up by the technician. This typically involves several electrodes to monitor your breathing, your leg movements, your heart rate, and brain waves. A video camera will also be utilized to assess behavioral patterns. All the electrodes will be hooked up to a machine that will provide data for the recording. You will be monitored throughout the night by the technician. If you are having a CPAP study, CPAP mask will be placed in addition to the above. We don’t expect you to fall asleep as easily as you what home; however, we do expect to obtain a reasonable snapshot of your sleep.

The recording will then be scored by the technician and interpreted by the physician

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