A sleep study is the most accurate test for diagnosing sleep apnea. It captures what happens with your breathing while you sleep. Our sleep studies are conducted sleep center where patients stay overnight in comfortable, private bedrooms. Home sleep apnea testing is also available.
A polysomnogram (poly-SOM-no-gram), or PSG, is the most common study for diagnosing sleep apnea. This test records:
- Brain activity
- Eye movement and other muscle activity
- Breathing and heart rate
- How much air moves in and out of your lungs while you’re sleeping
- The amount of oxygen in your blood
A PSG is painless. You will go to sleep as usual, except you will have sensors on your scalp, face, chest, limbs, and finger. The staff at the sleep center will use the sensors to check on you throughout the night. A sleep specialist reviews the results of your PSG to see whether you have a sleep disorder and how severe it is. He or she will use the results to plan your treatment.
Daytime Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) For someone who reports being sleepy during the day, it is sometimes helpful to measure how sleepy. Also, after treatment of sleep problems, we sometimes want to measure improvement in daytime sleepiness. Sleepiness can be measured with a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). Basically, the MSLT measures how fast someone falls asleep during the day. It must be done after an overnight sleep study (polysomnography) which documents adequate opportunity for sleep the night before. The test is composed of four to five “naps” that last 20 minutes and are spaced two hours apart. The person is instructed to try and fall asleep. The average time to fall asleep is calculated for all four or five tests. Normal time would be greater than 10 minutes to fall asleep. Excessive sleepiness is less than five minutes to fall asleep.
Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT)
The Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT) also measures daytime sleepiness. The person in this test is instructed to try and stay awake. This is repeated for four 40-minute sessions, two hours apart. Not falling asleep in all four tests is the strongest objective measure of no daytime sleepiness. Some agencies use these tests to ensure that their employees are not excessively sleepy while at work. Specifically, airline pilots and truck drivers who have sleepiness need to be tested. This is done for public safety and work productivity. Unfortunately, there is no test that will guarantee that someone will not fall asleep at his or her job or while driving.
Sleep studies completed by:
- monitoring EEG
- breathing effort
- air being moved
- leg movements
- pulse oximetry
- positive airway pressure (PAP) titration studies
- education in all aspects of sleep problems
What to Expect During a Sleep Study
Our sleep studies typically begin at 8 p.m. For night shift workers, we will try to schedule a study during your normal sleeping hours. We will explain the procedure and prepare you for the study. You will spend the night in one of our private rooms as we observe your sleep. If your physician prescribes a sleep aid bring it with you as we are unable to dispense medication. Your study should be done by 8 o’clock the next morning unless you also stay for a day study. We are equipped to set you up with your therapeutic needs (CPAP, Bi-PAP, etc.). These options will be discussed with you in the morning if the study indicates you qualify for treatment. After your sleep study is completed, our board-certified sleep specialist will meet with you to discuss the results and possible treatment options.
What to Bring
Get ready for your night at the Center’s sleep lab as if you’re spending the night at a hotel. Bring your completed sleep questionnaire and comfortable, loose fitting apparel such as pajamas, to sleep in. We also recommend that you bring all your personal toiletries and a toothbrush. You are also welcome to bring your favorite pillow, blanket, or anything else that helps you sleep.
Our Center offers four private, comfortable rooms with cable television. The bedrooms feature high-quality Select Comfort queen-sized beds and an accessible bathroom and shower. The rooms are like staying at a hotel. The staff is very courteous and friendly and makes you feel right at home. If you need to stay through the next day for additional testing, lunch is also provided. Because of the possibility of a day study, we ask that you make arrangements to be available for continuous testing the following day if necessary.
Appointments may be made through a referral or by calling (218) 454-0225