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What to expect at a sleep study

Monday, July 1, 2019 | Sleep

Over 65 million American adults — more than one-third of the population — have trouble sleeping, and over 100 sleep disorders have been identified. One of the most common disorders is sleep apnea, with roughly 90 percent of those affected undiagnosed. Symptoms include loud snoring, not feeling refreshed after a night’s sleep and daytime sleepiness. If this sounds familiar, talk to your doctor. He or she may examine you, ask about your medical history and have you fill out a sleep questionnaire.

If you are at moderate or high risk for sleep apnea, your doctor may order a comprehensive sleep study, also known as an in-lab study, an overnight study or a polysomnography (PSG), which is performed in a sleep center. A PSG monitors a number of bodily functions during your sleep. A less comprehensive sleep study, also referred to as a home sleep study or home sleep apnea test (HSAT), may be ordered if you have no underlying chronic or latter-stage medical conditions.

Details of a sleep study

  • Physiological functions including brain waves, muscle and eye movement, oxygen levels, and heart rhythms are monitored and tracked during a PSG.
  • Breathing, abdominal and chest movement and snoring are monitored.
  • All data are collected using painless, noninvasive electrodes and sensors, and in the case of a PSG, also via images from cameras in the testing room.
  • PSGs are conducted and monitored by licensed sleep technologists, who are highly trained sleep study technicians that will help ensure a conclusive sleep study.
  • It takes about 45 minutes to an hour for the sleep technologist to hook you up to the monitoring equipment. Once the technologist has made all the proper connections, he or she will go to their monitoring station in another room.
  • Most patients sleep well in the sleep center and are able to move around in the bed, and may even get out of bed when necessary, perhaps to use the restroom.
  • Sleep technologists carefully review the data and compile a report with the results and send it to the referring doctor; the technologists are not allowed to disclose test results to patients.
  • The referring doctor will present the study results to the patient, unless the referring physician requested a follow-up consultation by a sleep specialist.

At Bayhealth Sleep Centers, patients undergo testing in a private room with a homelike environment that includes a bed as well as a recliner and flat-screen TV. Bayhealth Sleep Centers, which are accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, offer PSGs, HSATs and other types of sleep studies. Their expert staff can diagnose all types of sleep disorders including sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, and movement disorders.

For more information about Bayhealth Sleep Centers, including locations, visit Bayhealth's Sleep Care page or call 1-855-873-4177.