A sleep center, sometimes called a sleep clinic, is a facility used for diagnosing and treating sleep related disorders. These sleep centers conduct sleep studies, which aid your doctor in diagnosing any sleep disorder you may have.
They also measure how well you sleep and how your body responds to sleep disorders and problems, if you have any. These sleep studies are completely painless, although you may find it a little harder to fall asleep when sleeping in a new place or being hooked up to sensors. Sleep centers know this and most design their rooms to resemble hotel rooms for a more relaxing environment. You are encouraged to pack an overnight bag like you would for a hotel; you should bring comfortable pajamas, a change of clothes for in the morning, a toothbrush, and your favorite pillow if you have one. They will also adjust the thermostat to your liking, offer extra pillows and blankets, and supply reading materials and a TV to ensure that you’re comfortable throughout the entire process.
Sleep studies can help diagnose a wide range of sleep problems, such as sleep related seizures, breathing disorders, movement disorders, and sleep disorders that effect your daytime functioning, such as narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea. Sleep centers use an array of test for sleep studies, but the most common are Polysomnogram (PSG), multiple sleep latency test (MSLT), maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT), actigraphy, and home-based portable monitors. The majority of sleep studies are conducted in the sleep clinic over the course of an evening, however there are some that can be done during the day in the office. Some can even be conducted in the comfort of your own home.
These sleep studies allow your doctor to view your sleep patterns and sleep problems that you’re probably not even aware of since they are happening while you’re asleep. Results from the sleep study may include information on your sleep and wake times, sleep stages, breathing habits, movement during sleep, and your body’s vitals. Your doctor will take all this information along with your medical history to make a diagnosis and create a treatment plan specialized for you.
“UCLA Sleep Disorders Center.” Preparing for a Sleep Study. UCLA.edu. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. <http://sleepcenter.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=59>.
“What To Expect During a Sleep Study.” – NHLBI, NIH. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institue. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. <http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/slpst/during.html>.