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Sleep Studies: Why They’re Important and What to Expect

Posted on July 1, 2016 by Core Products There have been 0 comments

sleep-studyBy Brian Acton

Sleep studies are an increasingly common tool used by doctors and sleep specialists to determine if their patients are having sleep issues. According to a 2014 statement by the Sleep Foundation, 45% of Americans report that poor or insufficient sleep affects their daily lives, and as much as 25% of the population may suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that negatively affects the ability to breathe properly during sleep.

Not only is poor sleep tied to your health and happiness, it has also been linked to car accidents, workplace accidents, and other errors.

With the increased attention on the importance of good sleep, it’s no wonder sleep studies are on the rise. Symptoms that may indicate you have a sleep disorder can include insomnia, excessive snoring, trouble breathing, and excessive tiredness during the day. If you have any of these issues, you may want to get your doctor to refer you to a sleep specialist for a sleep study.

The Sleep Study

Sleep studies usually take place overnight in a hospital or sleep center. You’ll arrive before bedtime and meet with a technician who will give you time to get ready for sleep – there may be a television or you could bring a book or magazine to help you unwind and relax. Be sure to bring clothes you’re comfortable sleeping in, as well as all the toiletries you’ll need before bed.

Once you’re in bed, the technician will place sensors on your head and body that connect to machines that monitor your sleep patterns, oxygen levels, disruptions in sleep, and other measurements that determine the quality of your sleep. The technician will be available throughout the night should you accidentally remove any of the sensors or need to use the restroom.

Some people may find that, in this very different environment, it’s difficult to fall asleep. Just try to relax and remember that you don’t need a full 8 hours for the specialists to accurately evaluate your sleep.

There are also home studies – in which you take a much simpler set of sensors home and hook them up yourself – but the health professionals will be able to recommend the sleep study you need. You may also undergo a home test once you’ve been treated for a sleep condition to check on the progress of your treatment.

What Sleep Studies Can Find

If you have sleeping troubles, there are a number of different conditions a sleep study can diagnose. These include:

  • Breathing disorders such as sleep apnea, during which you stop breathing for brief periods of time or experience very shallow breathing.
  • Sleep movement disorders such as periodic limb movement disorder, during which your legs cramp or jerk during sleep.
  • Sleep disorders that lead to excessive tiredness, such as narcolepsy.

What They May Recommend

Depending on what the sleep study finds, there are a number of different treatments that may be recommended by your doctor.

If the condition is not serious – such as light snoring that does not result in sleep apnea – your doctor may recommend healthy habits that can improve your sleep. These could include losing weight, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, and other lifestyle choices that will improve your sleep quality.

Other conditions may require medication or more intensive treatment.

For instance, sleep apnea can be treated a number of different ways dependent upon the cause of the condition. Surgery is an option, as are oral or dental appliances to wear at bedtime. One of the most common treatments for sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which supplies constant air pressure to help you breathe steadily during sleep. CPAP machines fit to a hose that supplies oxygen through a mask that fits over your face. These machines can be uncomfortable or difficult to get used to at first – for that problem we recommend a CPAP pillow that helps CPAP users stay comfortable and keep their equipment fitted properly throughout the night.

Conclusion

If you believe you may have a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor and get a referral to a sleep specialist, who will most likely schedule you a sleep study. While the idea of sleeping in a strange place to be evaluated by sleep professionals might make you uncomfortable, diagnosis and treatment can bring you excellent results and dramatically improve your quality of life – both during sleep and in your waking life.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/features/dssleep/

https://sleepfoundation.org/media-center/press-release/lack-sleep-affecting-americans-finds-the-national-sleep-foundation


This post was posted in Education

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