A sleep study is a comprehensive, non-invasive sleep test used to diagnose sleep disorders like Sleep Apnea and UARS. A sleep study test allows the doctor to monitor your sleep while recording brain waves, heart rate, breathing, snoring, and oxygen level in your blood during the cycles of REM and nonREM stages of sleep. The data collected from the test is then analysed by a sleep specialist, which helps determine if you have sleep apnea or any other type of sleep disorder.
Two popular types of sleep studies are:
1) In-lab sleep study (Polysomnography): In a sleep lab, you are provided with a private bedroom for an overnight stay. A sleep technician will then place sensors on your scalp, chest and legs. A small clip is also attached to your finger to monitor the oxygen level in your blood. The sensors attached to your body are connected to a computer, which allows the sleep technician to monitor different activities throughout the night, including:
Brain and muscle activity
Leg and eye movements
Respiratory airflow: breathing lapses and snoring
Body positioning and movements
Blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm
2) At-home sleep test: For an at-home sleep test, the doctor will provide you with a portable sleep and breathing monitoring device like a WatchPAT. On the night of the test, make sure you follow your regular bedtime routine and follow the instructions provided by the doctor on how to attach the monitoring sensors accurately.
In the morning, remove the sensors when you wake and return the testing equipment to the doctor’s office. The doctor will then set up a follow-up visit with you to discuss the test results.
The at-home sleep test kit usually has:
A nasal cannula – to measure oxygen and airflow
A finger clip – to measure oxygen and heart rate
Special sensors – to monitor your breathing patterns