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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;.

Problems with Pets and Sleep

Who doesn’t love snuggling up to a fluffy dog or cat? While it is a well-known fact that owning pets can be beneficial to their owners’ health, sleeping with these furry friends can actually be quite harmful and make it difficult to get your best night’s sleep.

A recent APPA study found that more than half of dogs and cats sleep with their adult owners. That is a lot a pet hair getting caught in between the sheets.

Those with allergies to pet dander will find themselves much happier whenever they find an alternative spot for their furry friends to rest for the night. Most people will benefit from giving their sinuses a break from the strain of hair saturated air, but hypoallergenic pets can make this process less stressful.

Obviously, sleeping with pets increases the opportunity to have your sleep disturbed by an animal’s movement and natural disruptions in their own sleep cycles – after all, we can’t assume our sleep cycle is the same as our pet’s sleep cycle. Many animals experience a more active REM stage of sleep, which often times results in restless leg movements, growling or barking, and sudden waking. Some pets, especially dogs with a history of more aggressive behavior, may become more protective at night, especially when sleeping with their owner. Therefore, understanding your pets behaviors is an important factor when choosing whether or not you should be snuggling up with your pet pals.

Getting pets out of the bedroom once they have become accustomed to sleeping with you is a much more difficult problem than washing out pet hair. Most vets believe that pets should be kept out of the bedroom altogether if you don’t intend on them sleeping with you. Training dogs to stay off the bed is typically easier than with cats, but either animal can pose a challenge, especially when you are trying to get them to stay in the same room, but not on the actual bed.

Overall, it is important to understand both you and your pet’s sleep preferences and behaviors before making long-term decisions that can influence behavior and become habit.

http://pets.webmd.com/features/pets-in-your-bed

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/russell-rosenberg-phd/sleeping-with-pets_b_2008808.html

What is a Sleep Center?

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&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;.