A sleep study is a medical, non-invasive diagnostic study, to find out if you are getting a restful night's sleep. At MISH, we perform testing to diagnose sleep apnea. There are three types of sleep apnea;
1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is the most common form of sleep apnea and affects 18 million American adults, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
2. Central Sleep Apnea: This is a less common form of sleep apnea in which the brain fails to properly regulate breathing during sleep.
3. Mixed Sleep Apnea: This form of sleep apnea is a combination of Obstructive and Central Apnea
What Happens During Sleep Apnea?
When we sleep our muscles “relax”, this includes the muscles of the upper airway. This usually results in snoring, and often times, Apnea, which is classified as a pause in breathing for at least 10 seconds. This, then causes the blood oxygen levels to fall and can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, mood and memory problems and strokes. The other impact to people with Apnea is a disruption of our sleep cycles. Normally, we sleep in 90-minute cycles beginning with stage 1, (light sleep), stage 2 (sleep), and stages 3 and 4, (deep sleep), ending with Rapid Eye Movement sleep, REM, (Dream Sleep). When a person has an apneic event, this causes what is called an arousal in which they come out of a deep stage of sleep into a lighter one, this is known as “Fragmented Sleep”. The patient typically is not aware of these arousals, but can wake up feeling tired, suffering from morning headaches, memory problems, moodiness, trouble concentrating, low energy and sleepiness when driving.
The only way your physician can find out if you have one of these sleep conditions is to test your sleep during a sleep study.
When you arrive, the sleep study technologist will set up monitoring equipment at your bedside. Then, the technologist will attach soft electrode patches to your head, face chest, and legs, and connect the patches to the monitoring equipment. The technologist will also wrap a belt around your chest and one around your abdomen.
You will experience no discomfort during this process.
The monitors will record your brainwaves, your breathing, movements and any possible
snoring and/or apnea while you are asleep. If you have any difficulty sleeping, the monitors will record this difficulty.
The sleep study is completely painless. Remember that the purpose of the study is to measure the way you normally sleep. If the sleep study were to be uncomfortable in any way, your doctor could not get a normal picture of your sleep patterns. Most people find that undergoing a sleep study is a new and interesting experience.
You will be able to change positions while sleeping and if you need to use the restroom, the technologist will quickly unhook the main wire and reattach it when you are done.
When you are woken up in the morning, the sleep study will be over. The monitors will contain an entire night's information on how you have slept. The sleep study technologist will come to your room and unhook the wires. The data collected is then “Scored” by a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist, (RPSGT). Then the scored results are sent to a board-certified sleep physician for an interpretation. Once read, the physician reading the study will send a printed report of your sleep study to your physician. This usually takes about 3-5 business days.
Your physician will look at your sleep study results, and decide whether you need a second sleep study with CPAP. If you do need additional help sleeping, your physician will discuss different ways to help you get the sleep you need.
The following are some answers to questions you may have regarding the test:
1. What is a Polysomnogram?
The Polysomnogram is a test that measures bodily functions during sleep. Some of the measurements that may be taken include;
- Brain waves (skin surface electrodes on the head) eye movements (skin surface electrodes above and below the eyes)
- Muscle tension (skin surface electrodes on the legs); leg movements (skin surface electrodes on the legs)
- Breathing sounds (air movement sensors attached near the nose & mouth)
- Blood Oxygen Levels (a small sensor is attached to the finger, and no blood samples are actually taken)
Several electrodes, sensors and monitoring equipment will be attached to your body with tape or paste prior to bedtime. These sensors transmit output data to a computerized recording that is continuously monitored by a qualified technologist. The technologist will be monitoring and documenting throughout the night and will be available to assist you with trips to the restroom, if needed. You may also be video/audio monitored to document sleep position, snoring, and any other activity that occurs throughout the night (it is recorded).
If your physician has ordered a “split night study”, the technologist will prepare you for the possibility of using CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy after approximately 2 hours of diagnostic monitoring. CPAP is a therapy used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Positive air pressure is delivered through a nasal or nasal/oral mask and splints open the airway. This positive pressure will prevent obstruction or collapsing of the airway which causes apnea (pauses in breathing). During this portion of the testing, the technologist will adjust the levels of air pressure to determine which level best works for you.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How can I sleep with all of these "things" on me?
Surprisingly, most people sleep very well even with all this monitoring equipment in place. Generally, you will lose your awareness of the attached monitoring equipment after it has been attached for a short time.
Will the sensor devices hurt?
No. There is sometimes a mild, short-term skin irritation when attaching the sensor devices or a
sensation of warmth with the attachment of the oxygen sensor. These sensations do not normally cause
any significant discomfort.
What should I expect the night of the test?
MISH will provide everything needed to do the test. We do ask that you will already have taken you shower or bath prior to arrival. Men should be clean-shaven (in some cases) and women should have all make-up removed. Please refrain from using any powders, conditioner, lotions or oil as this is causes the electrodes not to stick.
Are these tests covered by insurance?
YES. Most major health care insurance carriers cover these tests, at least in part. Patients should, however, check with their health care insurance carrier for specific details.
What happens to the Polysomnogram?
The record of your sleep test, stored electronically, will be scored by a Sleep Disorders technologist and submitted to the Sleep Disorders physician for interpretation. This interpretation will then be used to confirm a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
Who should I call if I cannot keep my appointment?
Our normal office business operating hours are 9:00AM to 4:30PM. If you must unavoidably cancel your sleep study test, please contact our office staff during these hours at 913-322-7401. Sleep studies are typically done during the night after 7:00PM; however, accommodations can be made for individuals that work during the night and sleep during the day.
Your doctor has prescribed a sleep study to help decide whether you have a sleep disorder. On
the day of your scheduled sleep study, the most important thing you can do is also the easiest - just
follow your normal routine!
Other preparations that you should make on the day of the sleep study are:
- Remember to bathe or shower, and to shampoo your hair.
- Avoid using any skin creams/lotions, powder, oils or hair conditioners after bathing.
- Try to eat your evening meal before 7:00 P.M.
- Avoid foods that contain caffeine - like coffee, tea, colas and chocolate.
- Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages - like beer, wine and liquor.
- Don’t take any naps during the day of your sleep study.
- Don’t start any new diet or exercise programs on the day of your sleep study.
- Take any medications your doctor has prescribed, except sleeping pills (unless otherwise directed).
- Please note: You cannot have any visitors during your study and cannot have anyone wait for you in the hospital during the study.
Our Sleep Study Technologist will be in your room for about forty-five minutes to an hour, setting up the sleep monitoring equipment. The Technologist will help you understand the sleep study process and will be happy to answer any questions you may have at that time.
We hope this helped to answer your questions!
If you have any further questions about the sleep study,
please call MISH directly at 913.322-7408