What is Overnight Sleep Study?
Polysomnography (PSG), also known as a sleep study, is a multi-parametrictest used in the study of sleep and as a diagnostic tool in sleep medicine. The test result is called a polysomnogram, also abbreviated PSG. The name is derived from Greek and Latin roots: the Greek ‘poly’ for multi-channel (many), the Latin ‘somnus’ (sleep), and the Greek ‘graphein’ (to write). (From Wikipedia.org)
Polysomnograms are the charts of your brain waves, your heart rate, and breathing rhythms while you sleep. Polysomnograms make the recording of your eye movements (such as REM sleep) and leg and limbs movements, as well as your muscle tension. Pickup sensors are placed everywhere: on your face, head, chest, and legs. Signals from those sensors are sent to a computer for a complete analysis.
- Those signals sense whether you are asleep or awaken during the night. The brain-wave (produced by electroencephalography) and eye-movement detectors (produced by infrared light sensors) show when you are in REM sleep. This stands for a rapid eye movement sleep when you are dreaming.
- If you have sleep apnea, the breathing monitors will display how many times your breathing stops during the night. Breathing monitor can also detect insufficient inhaled airflow, as well as any changes in oxygen level.
- The leg sensors detect signals from tiny twitches in your muscles and large movements happening during the night as well.
- An oxygen finger-clip sensor will be attached to your finger to detect any changes in the oxygen level of your blood. It based on a physical principle whereby amount of oxygen is directly proportional to the blood color: when blood loses oxygen, its color changes from red to blue.
Why do I need Overnight Sleep Study?
The following use of polysomnography may be required when:
- If you have been diagnosed with sleep-related breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea
- To adjust proper levels of airflow and program continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for those people who are using CPAP devices.
- To prevent someone from getting narcolepsy by checking and analyzing his or her daytime nap patterns.
- To see whether or not the patient is violent or harmful to the patient or others during the night sleep.
If you possess any of those problems, it is more likely that your doctor will suggest to conduct polysomnography analysis. The other time when you might need the overnight sleep study is when you are already had been treated for a sleep disorder, however, you are not getting better. Your sleep doctor will be able to understand why the previous treatment is not working and make a suggestion the other one.
What is going to happen during the sleep study?
- First of all, your sleep doctor with the help from the sleep center will try to make you feel relaxed.
- They will suggest go to the center in the evening.
- You will be left along for some time to feel yourself at home. You will see no other patients in the same room with you.
- The polysomnography procedure is totally painless and practically unnoticeable.
- All sensors will be gently attached to your body in different places and will be connected to a polysomnograph computer. The length of the sensor cables are sufficient to let you move around and turn over in bed while you are asleep or awaken.
- For the purpose of tuning the equipment and making sure that the sensors are working normally, you will be asked to produce some movements, such as: your eyes, clench your teeth, and move your legs.
- As your regular bedtime you will encouraged to read papers or watch TV, as you normally do before falling sleep. Then the room lights will be switched off to identify that it is a time for you to try to fall asleep. A low-light sensitivity video camera, connected to the video monitor nearby room, will assist lab assistant to observe you during your sleep. In case when any sensor becomes loose, the lab assistant will come to your room and fix it. If you will need to go to the bathroom, the lab assistant will also have to detach all cables and attached them back again.
What if I Fail the Overnight Sleep Study?
- You can’t fail the polysomnogram test.
- Practically, everyone being admitted for the overnight sleep study by polysomnogram, falls asleep during the study.
- Some people do not sleep well at the lab if they do not sleep well back home.
- The results will not be affected in anyway. In fact, you are not even forced to fall asleep if you don’t want just to find out the source of your sleep problem or any disorder that might be associated with your sleep.
- The next morning all sensors will be checked again and they will be removed. At this moment, the overnight sleep study is completed and you will be free to go home.
- If you did not sleep well during the night, you may feel tired. If you don’t, you can go back to your normal daily activities immediately.
Who will analyze the charts?
The lab assistant is the first one who checks the data from the sleep study.
- The very first thing the lab technician will do is creating charts of your sleep stages.
- Then, the lab technician will check for any abnormal sensors reading, especially coming from your breathing pattern or leg movement.
- Then all results will be provided to a doctor.
- The sleep doctor will analyze the study in order to detect any of sleep problems you may have.
- Many sleep centers received accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). The AASM governs standards and procedures for sleep centers to maintain and follow. Those standards and procedures are well defined to make sure that patients with sleep disorders receive the highest level of care. The board-certified sleep specialists in these centers are the only sleep professionals who are certified to review the results of a sleep study.
Can I get the results of my overnight sleep study?
Normally, it takes about two weeks to obtain the results of a sleep study.
- The certified sleep center doctor, when he or she takes a look at the study, may need additional information from the lab technologist or from your sleep doctor who referred you to the center.
- In turn, the medical doctor who referred you to the overnight sleep study, will discuss the results with you.
- If your primary care doctor ordered it, then the results are sent to him or her.
If you happen to see the sleep center doctor, then he or she will be obliged to tell you the results of the study.
Watch video: Pediatric Sleep Lab
Questions from the video:
- What is “pediatric sleep lab”?
- How do I know if my child needs to go to a sleep lab?
- What is the most common reason for a child to attend a sleep lab?