Millions of Americans - in fact, more than 100 million - are poor sleepers.
The good news is that sleep disorders can be diagnosed accurately and managed effectively.
The architecture of sleep - that is, the distribution of sleep stages - is revealed through sleep studies. Excessive sleepiness, insomnia, disturbing physical events (such as breathing and muscle problems), and even depression, can be diagnosed with such testing.
A visit to a sleep disorders facility is likely to be a new experience.
1As a patient, your physician will likely order a polysomnogram, or sleep study, a test that will evaluate the quality and quantity of the different stages of your sleep. Continuous recordings of the brain waves, heart and lung function, eye movement, leg movement, chin, chest and actual air flow changes will be gathered. EKG and oxygen levels will also be recorded.
2A patient service representative will make initial contact to schedule an overnight sleep test. Testing is done during the week as well as on the weekends. Sleep studies are covered by most insurance companies including Medicare. We contact your insurance company prior to testing to verify benefits.
3A specially trained technician will conduct the evaluation. After you are dressed for sleep, the technician will apply small, lightweight electrodes - with a thick paste - to your scalp and skin. Once you are in bed, the technician will apply an oxygen sensor to your finger and straps around your chest and stomach to help measure your breathing and how your sleep is being disrupted. The technician will be in an adjacent room monitoring your sleep. You will be observed by both camera and intercom should you need anything. An overnight sleep study usually ends around 5:00AM to 6:00AM the following morning.
4All study data is reviewed and scored by registered sleep technologists and interpretations are prepared by a Board Certified Sleep Physician. A tremendous volume of sleep information is collected. A lab technician scores all of the data. Then, the sleep study, your sleep history, physical examination, observation notes from the technicians, and any other testing you may have had performed will be forwarded to the Sleep Specialist. Careful interpretation of all results is then undertaken, and this leads to a diagnosis of the sleep problem, as well as recommendations for treatment.
5You will probably have a follow-up visit with your referring physician and/or the Sleep Specialist to discuss the results and appropriate treatment options. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. The sleep lab personnel are ready to help you understand and make you comfortable during your stay in the sleep lab.