An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that detects abnormal brain waves or other abnormalities in the electrical activities of the brain. Often, EEG tests are used to diagnose dementia, seizure disorders, tumors, and strokes. EEG tests can also be used to diagnose sleep disorders.
It is a bit complicated to diagnose a sleep disorder. First of all, people who are suspected of having a sleep disorder are to keep a daily diary of their activities related to sleep. They are to keep track of the times when they try to go to sleep and when they actually fall asleep as well as the activities surrounding the time they go to sleep. Sleep behaviors, such as snoring or waking during the night, are recorded as well. This information, along with other tests, helps the doctor properly diagnose and treat any potential sleep disorders.
The next step is to undergo a polysomnogram, which is a sleep study that uses an EEG test to monitor the electrical waves of the brain during sleep. The polysomnogram also monitors the patient’s heart rhythm and breathing while the patient is asleep. The EEG continues to monitor the brain throughout the various stages of sleep, from the initial lighter sleep down into the deep sleep of the REM cycle. Dr. Thomas, who serves Salt Lake City, Murray and the surrounding areas, can then examine the EEG, which may be hundreds of pages long, and determine what causes you to wake often and see if a sleep disorder is present.
A testing called photic stimulation is often done during the EEG recording whereby flashing lights are used as some seizures can be triggered by this stimulation.
If you think you may be affected by a sleep disorder, contact your doctor to discuss the possibility of being tested for one. Some sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, can have potentially serious health consequences, so it’s important to get the proper tests so you can get diagnosed and treated. Do what you need to do to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep every night! Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.