Services

Sleep Lab

If obstructive sleep apnea or another sleep problem keeps you from getting sufficient sleep night after night, the consequences can become dire. Obstructive sleep apnea strains every system in the body and can lead to a host of other health problems, including high blood pressure and heart disease.

Golden Valley Memorial Hospital's certified technicians attach electrodes to monitor air flow; brain wave activity; cardiac rate; and chest, leg and eye movement while the patient sleeps.

A pulmonologist in Kansas City who is a board-certified sleep physician reads the study results, and a treatment plan is worked out.

What Are Sleep Studies?

Sleep studies are tests that measure how well you sleep and how your body responds to sleep problems. These tests can help your doctor find out whether you have a sleep disorder and how severe it is.

Sleep studies are important because untreated sleep disorders can raise your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and other medical conditions. Sleep disorders also have been linked to an increased risk of injury, such as falling (in the elderly) and car accidents.

People usually aren't aware of their breathing and movements while sleeping. They may never think to talk to their doctors about issues that might be related to sleep problems.

However, sleep disorders can be treated. Talk with your doctor if you snore regularly or feel very tired while at work or school most days of the week.

You also may want to talk with your doctor if you often have trouble falling or staying asleep, or if you wake up too early and aren't able to go back to sleep. These are common signs of a sleep disorder.

Your doctor might be able to diagnose a sleep disorder based on your sleep schedule and habits. However, he or she also might need the results from sleep studies and other medical tests to diagnose a sleep disorder.

Sleep studies can help diagnose:

  • Sleep-related breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea
  • Sleep-related seizure disorders
  • Sleep-related movement disorders, such as periodic limb movement disorder
  • Sleep disorders that cause extreme daytime tiredness, such as narcolepsy
  • Doctors might use sleep studies to help diagnose or rule out restless legs syndrome (RLS). However, RLS usually is diagnosed based on signs and symptoms, medical history, and a physical exam.

Types of Sleep Studies

To diagnose sleep-related problems, doctors may use one or more of the following sleep studies:

  • Polysomnogram (pol-e-SOM-no-gram), or PSG
  • Home-based portable monitor

Your doctor may use actigraphy if he or she thinks you have a circadian (ser-KA-de-an) rhythm disorder. This is a disorder that disrupts your body's natural sleep–wake cycle.

Polysomnogram

For a PSG, you usually will stay overnight at a sleep center. This study records brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, and blood pressure.

A PSG also records the amount of oxygen in your blood, air movement through your nose while you breathe, snoring, and chest movements. The chest movements show whether you're making an effort to breathe.

PSG results are used to help diagnose:

  • Sleep-related breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea
  • Sleep-related seizure disorders
  • Sleep-related movement disorders, such as periodic limb movement disorder
  • Sleep disorders that cause extreme daytime tiredness, such as narcolepsy (PSG and MSLT results will be reviewed together)
  • Your doctor also may use a PSG to find the right setting for you on a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. CPAP is a treatment for sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. In obstructive sleep apnea, the airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. A CPAP machine uses mild air pressure to keep your airway open while you sleep.

If your doctor thinks that you have sleep apnea, he or she might schedule a split-night sleep study. During the first half of the night, your sleep is checked without a CPAP machine. This will show whether you have sleep apnea and how severe it is.

If the PSG shows that you have sleep apnea, you'll use a CPAP machine during the second half of the split-night study. A technician will help you select a CPAP mask that fits and is comfortable.

While you sleep, the technician will check the amount of oxygen in your blood and whether your airway stays open. He or she will adjust the flow of air through the mask to find the setting that's right for you. This process is called CPAP titration.

Sometimes the entire study isn't done during the same night. Some people need to go back to the sleep center for the CPAP titration study.

Also, some people might need more than one PSG. For example, your doctor may recommend a followup PSG to:

  • Adjust your CPAP settings after weight loss or weight gain
  • Recheck your sleep if symptoms return despite treatment with CPAP
  • Find out how well surgery has worked to correct a sleep-related breathing disorder

Home-Based Portable Monitor

Your doctor may recommend a home-based sleep test with a portable monitor. The portable monitor will record some of the same information as a PSG. For example, it may record:

  • The amount of oxygen in your blood
  • Air movement through your nose while you breathe
  • Your heart rate
  • Chest movements that show whether you're making an effort to breathe

A sleep specialist might use the results from a home-based sleep test to help diagnose sleep apnea. He or she also might use the results to see how well some treatments for sleep apnea are working.

Home-based testing is appropriate only for some people. Talk with your doctor to find out whether a portable monitor is an option for you. If your doctor recommends this test, you'll need to visit a sleep center or your doctor's office to pick up the equipment and learn how to use it.

If you're diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor may prescribe treatment with CPAP. If so, he or she will need to find the correct airflow setting for your CPAP machine. To do this, you may need to go to a sleep center to have a PSG. Or, you may be able to find the correct setting at home with an autotitrating CPAP machine.

An autotitrating CPAP machine automatically finds the right airflow setting for you. These machines work well for some people who have sleep apnea. A technician or a doctor will teach you how to use the machine.

Who Needs a Sleep Study?

Your doctor might not detect a sleep problem during a routine office visit because you're awake. Thus, you should let your doctor know if you or a family member/sleep partner thinks you might have a sleep problem.

For example, talk with your doctor if you:

  • Have chronic (ongoing) snoring
  • Often feel sleepy during the day, even though you've spent enough time in bed to be well rested
  • Don't wake up feeling refreshed and alert
  • Have trouble adapting to shift work

Your doctor might be able to diagnose a sleep disorder based on your sleep schedule and habits. However, he or she also might need the results from sleep studies and other medical tests to diagnose a sleep disorder.

Sleep studies often are used to diagnose sleep-related breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea. Signs of these disorders include loud snoring, gasping, or choking sounds while you sleep or pauses in breathing during sleep.

Other common signs and symptoms of sleep disorders include the following:

  • It takes you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night.
  • You often wake up during the night and then have trouble falling asleep again, or you wake up too early and aren't able to go back to sleep.
  • You feel sleepy during the day and fall asleep within 5 minutes if you have a chance to nap, or you fall asleep at inappropriate times during the day.
  • You have creeping, tingling, or crawling feelings in your legs that you can relieve by moving or massaging them, especially in the evening and when you try to fall asleep.
  • You have vivid, dreamlike experiences while falling asleep or dozing.
  • You have episodes of sudden muscle weakness when you're angry, fearful, or when you laugh.
  • You feel as though you can't move when you first wake up.
  • Your bed partner notes that your legs or arms jerk often during sleep.
  • You regularly feel the need to use stimulants, such as caffeine, to stay awake during the day.
  • Many of the same signs and symptoms of sleep disorders can occur in infants and children. If your child snores or has other signs or symptoms of sleep problems, talk with his or her doctor.

If you've had a sleep disorder for a long time, you may not notice how it affects your daily routine. Using a sleep diary, such as the one found in Adult Sleep Study Questionnaire might be helpful.

Your doctor will work with you to decide whether you need a sleep study. A sleep study allows your doctor to observe sleep patterns and diagnose a sleep disorder, which can then be treated. Click here to view the Sleep Packet..

Certain medical conditions have been linked to sleep disorders, such as heart failure, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity and depression.

If you have or have had one of these conditions, ask your doctor whether it would be helpful to have a sleep study.

What To Expect Before a Sleep Study

Before a sleep study, your doctor may ask you about your sleep habits and whether you feel well rested and alert during the day.

Your doctor also may ask you to keep a sleep diary. You'll record information such as when you went to bed, when you woke up, how many times you woke up during the night, and more.

What To Bring With You 

Depending on what type of sleep study you're having, you may need to bring:

  • Notes from your sleep diary. These notes may help your doctor.
  • Pajamas and a toothbrush for overnight sleep studies.
  • A book or something to do between testing periods if you're having a maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT) or multiple sleep latency test (MSLT).

How To Prepare

  • Your doctor may advise you to stop or limit the use of tobacco, caffeine, and other stimulants before having a sleep study.
  • Your doctor also may ask whether you're taking any medicines. Make sure you tell your doctor about all of the medicines you're taking, including over-the-counter products. Some medicines can affect the sleep study results.
  • Your doctor also may ask about any allergies you have.
  • You should try to sleep well for 2 nights before having a sleep study. If you're being tested as a requirement for a transportation- or safety-related job, you might be asked to take a drug-screening test.
  • If you're going to have a home-based sleep test with a portable monitor, you'll need to visit a sleep center or your doctor's office to pick up the equipment. Your doctor or a technician will show you how to use the equipment.

What To Expect During a Sleep Study

Sleep studies are painless. The polysomnogram (PSG), multiple sleep latency test (MSLT), and maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT) usually are done at a sleep center.

The room the sleep study is done in may look like a hotel room. A technician makes the room comfortable for you and sets the temperature to your liking.

Most of your contact at the sleep center will be with Sleep Technologists. They can answer questions about the test itself, but they usually can't give you the test results.

During a Polysomnogram 

Sticky patches with sensors called electrodes are placed on your scalp, face, chest, limbs, and a finger. While you sleep, these sensors record your brain activity, eye movements, heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, and the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Elastic belts are placed around your chest and belly. They measure chest movements and the strength and duration of inhaled and exhaled breaths.

Wires attached to the sensors transmit the data to a computer in the next room. The wires are very thin and flexible. They are bundled together so they don't restrict movement, disrupt your sleep, or cause other discomfort. If you have signs of sleep apnea, you may have a split-night sleep study. During the first half of the night, the technologist records your sleep patterns. At the start of the second half of the night, he or she wakes you to fit a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask over your nose and/or mouth. A small machine gently blows air through the mask. This creates mild pressure that keeps your airway open while you sleep.

The technician checks how you sleep with the CPAP machine. He or she adjusts the flow of air through the mask to find the setting that's right for you.

At the end of the PSG, the technologist removes the sensors.

What To Expect After a Sleep Study

Once the sensors are removed after a polysomnogram (PSG), multiple sleep latency test, or maintenance of wakefulness test, you can go home. If you used an actigraph or a home-based portable monitor, you'll return the equipment to a sleep center or your doctor's office.

You won't receive a diagnosis right away. A sleep specialist and your primary care doctor will review the results of your sleep study. They will use your medical history, your sleep history, and the test results to make a diagnosis.

You may not get the sleep study results for a couple of weeks. Usually, your doctor, nurse, or sleep specialist will explain the test results and work with you to develop a treatment plan.

During a Home-Based Portable Monitor Test

If you're having a home-based portable monitor test, you'll need to set up the equipment at home before you go to sleep.

When you pick up the equipment at the sleep center or your doctor's office, someone will show you how to use it. In some cases, a technician will come to your home to help you prepare for the study.

For more information about Golden Valley Memorial Hospital's Sleep Lab, please call the respiratory care department at 660.890.7194.

Contact Us

660.890.7194

s