The technical term for a sleep study is polysomnography; the test analyzes movement along with brain activity and blood oxygen levels in order to diagnose a sleep disorder.
Of course you have heard of sleepwalking, snoring, and insomnia, which can range from annoying to serious. But there is also narcolepsy (sleepiness during the day) and sleep apnea (difficulty breathing at night).
Whatever plagues you, you shouldn’t be afraid to take part in a sleep study. There are very few risks, although staying off of caffeine and alcohol the day of the test may be annoying to some.
But the sleep diagnostic test itself is pretty straightforward. You sleep overnight at a hospital or sleep clinic, with different monitoring systems to measure your sleep. The night doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Some clinics even offer at-home sleep tests for certain patients.
You are watched all night by cameras and sensors. Sensors will be adhered to your scalp and a clip attached to your finger or ear. The technicians will be watching and listening the whole night. The equipment will be measuring your position, movement, and noise, plus brain waves, heart rate, and oxygen level in the blood.
You’ll probably be pretty comfortable, but don’t worry if you can’t sleep a full eight hours. After you wake up, you are free to go as soon as they remove all the sensors. Then you will get your results in about two weeks and your sleep doctor will discuss what happens from there.
Sleep tests can diagnose both minor and significant sleep disorders, which affect millions of Americans. Sleep disorders can seriously affect everything from work productivity to alertness to safe driving. Many disorders often go undiagnosed, which means people suffer unnecessarily.