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Sleep Studies

A wide range of tests are used during sleep studies, but here are a few of the most common sleep tests that you can expect.

  • Polysomnogram (PSG) is the most common test used to diagnose sleep disorders. A PSG is often recommended for patients who are suspected of having sleep apnea, narcolepsy, REM sleep behavior disorder, periodic limb movement disorder, unusual behaviors during sleep, and unexplained chronic insomnia. During a PSG you will have wired, sticky patches containing sensors called electrodes that are placed on your scalp, face, chest, limbs, and a finger; these sensors will record a patient’s brain waves, blood oxygen level, heart rate, breathing, as well as eye and leg movements while sleeping and will allow your doctor to give a diagnosis. A PSG can also be used to help adjust or create treatment plans for patients that have already been diagnosed with a sleep disorder.
  • Multiple Sleep Latency Tests (MSLT) show different stages of sleep and how long it takes you to fall asleep, you will be asked to relax and try to fall asleep in a dark, quiet room every two hours throughout the day. MSLT’s are usually performed the morning after a PSG and involves sensors placed on your scalp, face, and chin. These sensors will record brain activity and eye movements to help diagnose sleep disorders like narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomina, and other sleep disorders that cause daytime tiredness.
  • Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT) is typically performed the day after a PSG and takes most of the day. Like the previous sleep studies, the MWT uses sensors to measure when you’re awake and asleep. You will be asked to sit quietly and comfortably in a chair and look straight ahead, then all you have to do is try to stay awake for 40 minutes, then you will get a 2 hour break in between each MWT.
  • Home-Based Portable Monitor Test will require you to go to a sleep center where they will show you how to set up and use the equipment that you will be taking home, or in some cases you can have a technician come to your house to help prepare for the sleep study. You will take the equipment back to the sleep center when you finish and then should have the test results back from your doctor within a week or two.
  • Actigraphy is a small device that is typically worn like a wristwatch so you can go about your day normally; just make sure to remove it before swimming or bathing. The actigraphy measures your sleep/wake behavior over a 3-14 day period. Results from the actigraphy will give your doctor a better idea of your sleep habits, including daytime naps, bedtimes, hours of sleep, and even if the lights are on while you’re asleep.

 

“Polysomnography (sleep Study).” Why It’s Done. Mayo Clinic, 6 Dec. 2011. Web. 5 Nov. 2014. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/polysomnography/basics/why-its-done/prc-20013229&gt;.

“UCLA Sleep Disorders Center.” Preparing for a Sleep Study. UCLA.edu. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. <http://sleepcenter.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=59&gt;.

“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&gt;.

Speaking and Snoozing Don’t Mix

Have you ever been awoken by your sleep partner muttering in their sleep? If so, they likely suffer from sleep talking.

Sleep talking, also known as somniloquy, is a sleep disorder characterized by frequent attempts at talking during sleep. This disorder can feature anything from slight mumbles to elaborate conversations. If you or a loved one suffer from this unique sleep disorder, it is important to understand how it may affect others and what you can do to combat its side-effects.

Just as there are variances in volume and complexity, there are also variances in frequency of sleep talking episodes and severity of sleep disruption. While sleep talking is oftentimes hereditary, episodes are often brought on from sleep disrupting behaviors such as alcohol consumption, fever, stress, depression and sleep deprivation. Most people will never realize that they suffer from episodes of sleep talking, but many others may be affected.

There is typically not a serious need to have sleep talking treated, however, it can be an indication of other serious sleep disorders that can be harmful down the road. The best way to lower the likelihood of a sleep talking episode is by avoiding activities that harm the sleep cycle such as alcohol consumption and sleep deprivation.

If you can’t seem to keep your thoughts to yourself while sleeping, be sure to ask your doctor if there may be more serious issues at hand.

“Sleep Talking.” – National Sleep Foundation. Web. 19 Nov. 2014. <http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/sleep-talking&gt;.