How Does a Sleep Study Work?

How Does a Sleep Study Work?

If your doctor cannot determine if you are suffering from a sleep disorder or which sleep disorder you have they could suggest a sleep study.  Another term for a sleep study is polysomnography.  A sleep study is a non-invasive overnight exam where your sleep is monitored.  It takes place in a sleep lab or at a hospital.  While you sleep an EEG monitors your sleep stages and your REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycles.

Where does a sleep study take place?

A sleep study takes place in a comfortable bedroom set up in a sleep hospital or sleep lab.  You can wear your own pajamas and bring anything else that you regularly use when you sleep.  (Children often bring a stuffy or special blanket).

What all is monitored in a sleep study?

  • REM cycles
  • Blood oxygen levels
  • Heart rates
  • Breathing rates
  • Snoring
  • Body movements

How do they monitor?

Electrodes and sensors will be placed on you body externally only.  Your movement is not confined by the sensors.  Polysomnographic technologists will monitor you during the night.

Will you be able to sleep?

A full night of sleep is not required to gain useful information.  So don’t stress about if or how much sleep you will actually get.

Sleep Disorders:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Periodic limb movement disorder
  • Narcolepsy
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • Sleepwalking
  • REM sleep behavior disorder

Your results will be evaluated by your doctor and you will have a follow up consultation to discuss what was learned.

Key Points

  • 1Sleep studies provide valuable data to make an accurate assessment of sleep disorders.
  • 2Many pieces of data are monitored during a sleep study: eye movement, muscle contractions, and oxygen levels.
  • 3Useful data can be gathered even if your sleep is not complete.

A sleep study is a non-invasive, overnight exam that allows doctors to monitor you while you sleep to see what’s happening