So, you’ve been asked by your doctor to do a sleep study. Perhaps your partner has gotten fed up with your chronic snoring, or you keep waking up in the middle of the night, or you still feel tired and sluggish during the day after a full night’s sleep. There are many reasons to take a sleep study, and they are very helpful in determining what keeps you from sleeping at night. So, what is a sleep study, and what is it like?
What Is a Sleep Study?
A sleep study can help diagnose a range of sleeping disorders, from sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome to narcolepsy and REM behavior disorder. After taking account for your symptoms, your doctor will order the type of sleep study that will give them the information they need to make a diagnosis. You will spend a night in a facility or a few nights at home measuring your sleep and collecting data that can help your doctor make a diagnosis.
Different Types of Sleep Studies
1. In-Lab Sleep Tests
There are multiple reasons why your doctor might request that you come into a facility for an overnight stay. The most common types of in-lab sleep studies include polysomnograms, CPAP titrations, and “split-studies” that are a combination of both.
An in-lab sleep test, or polysomnogram (PSG), can help your doctor diagnose a wide range of sleep disorders. If they order this type of study, you can plan to spend the entire night at a facility. When you arrive (usually later in the evening), the sleep technicians will put you in a private room to do the test. They’ll attach electrodes to different parts of your body that are designed to measure and collect data and watch you through the night for movement or other physical symptoms (like snoring) so that a proper diagnosis can be made.
In a CPAP titration sleep study, the test is used to help CPAP technicians adjust your CPAP machine to the appropriate levels so that it is most effective for your particular case. You’ll come into a sleep study facility to stay the night and wear your CPAP machine for the night, and the technician will monitor the machine and adjust it to make sure that the proper air pressure is maintained throughout the entire night.
Split-study sleep tests incorporate the two tests explained above and are most commonly done for patients when there is a strong suggestion that they have sleep apnea. For the first half of the night, you will go through a polysomnogram, and the second half will be taken up by a CPAP titration. If your doctor requests this type of test, you’ll be notified ahead of time.
2. At-Home Sleep Test
At-home sleep tests are generally used to help your doctor diagnose suspected sleep apnea. You’ll be able to do the entire study in the comfort of your own home with the equipment provided. Your doctor will either have the equipment sent to your home, or you can pick it up directly from a variety of locations. You’ll then sleep with the equipment on for a period of one to three nights, after which you will return the equipment so the doctor can download the data collected and determine the proper treatment for any sleep disorders that you might have.
Things to Know About an At-Home Sleep Test
As the practice of sleep medicine has improved over the last few years, at-home sleep tests have become a more common diagnostic tool for patients who might be suffering from sleep apnea. Although you may have reservations as to how accurate an at-home test can be since it isn’t done in a facility, they are in fact very accurate for diagnosing that particular sleep disorder.
The equipment used for your at-home test can help you and your doctor diagnose your sleep apnea and find you a solution that will get you back to healthy sleep. However, at-home tests aren’t for everyone, so your doctor may still recommend an in-lab test as a follow-up.
Things to Remember Before Your Sleep Test
Here are a few things to remember before you take your sleep test:
1. Slow Down on the Caffeine
While mid-day naps and an extra cup of coffee always sounds like the perfect remedy for your exhaustion, it can make it harder for you to fall asleep once you make it to your sleep study. Falling asleep in a facility can take a little longer than usual, so coming to the test ready to rest is a good idea.
2. Don’t Change Your Routine
Make sure that you stay on your normal daily sleep routine before you head in for your sleep test. Don’t make any major changes to your daily routine and do any normal activities that you would already be doing in the week leading up to your sleep study.
3. Bring Comfortable Clothes to Your Test
Make sure to bring whatever makes you the most comfortable when you head in for your sleep test, as well as a change of clothes for the morning and any toiletries you might need.
4. Stay in Contact with Your Doctor
Your doctor may ask you to change your medication schedule or do specific things ahead of your sleep study. Make sure to stay available in case they have any particular requests before you head in for the test.
A Sleep Study Can Be the First Step to a Better Night’s Rest
There is a range of treatments available that can alleviate the effects of sleep apnea. While CPAP is a common treatment for sleep disorders, intraoral appliances can be a less intrusive solution for sleep apnea that can give you a more comfortable night’s sleep.
Advanced Sleep Solutions of Virginia, an affiliate of Advanced Sleep Solutions Centers of America, offers a variety of FDA-approved intraoral treatment devices that works as a great CPAP alternative. We make the process as painless as possible – offering at-home sleep tests, online scheduling, and our own secure telemedicine portals for communication. We hope, that with a little help, you will finally get a good night’s rest.
Schedule your sleep consultation now or call us at (703) 689-2480.