A sleep study is done to examine the patient’s sleep quality, which is used to diagnose not only snoring but also sleep apnea, leg movement disorders, parasomnia, and nocturnal seizures, which can all disrupt sleep quality. Before a patient can undergo a sleep study, they must first consult their doctor. The doctor will have to evaluate whether this study is appropriate based on the patient’s current condition.
Who Could Benefit from a Sleep Study?
- Those with abnormal snoring or have sleep apnea
- Those who are unusually tired during the day or wake up feeling unrested with a headache despite sleeping for a normal period of time
- Anyone with breathing problems or suspected breathing problems during sleep
- Those with sleep disorders, such as teeth grinding while asleep, bedwetting, sleepwalking, sleep twitches, nightmares, or disturbed sleep
- Those who snore or have abnormal breathing while sleeping that also suffer from certain health conditions such as kidney problems, high blood pressure, or diabetes, or have had a heart attack. This is in order to check that the body is not being starved of oxygen during sleep
- Those who suffer from seizures during sleep or narcolepsy
Those who require a diagnosis should be referred to a sleep disorder specialist in order to have their medical history reviewed and undergo a physical examination, both before and after the diagnosis. In order to fully consider all the various options for diagnosing and treating the patient experiencing the symptoms, the patient’s sleeping partner should also attend the sleep lab so that the doctor can ask them about the patient’s sleeping habits. This is beneficial because, due to the nature of some sleep behavior, the person who sleeps with the patient experiencing the symptoms may be able to provide valuable information.
What are the Benefits of Sleep Study?
- Sleep studies are an effective way of diagnosing and assessing the severity of the condition, and as such, have a big impact on selecting the most appropriate treatment. These treatments include:
- Determining the correct pressure for titration when using a machine to widen narrow airways in continuous positive airway pressure treatment (CPAP).
- Fitting an orthodontic retainer to alter the jaw position and widen airways (oral appliances).
- Sleep studies can effectively diagnose a variety of sleep disorders, especially obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
- Sleep studies can detect muscle twitches and other unusual behaviors during sleep.
- Assessments to affirm whether airway surgery is required, and to subsequently monitor the results and progress after surgery.
- Diagnosis of other specific diseases, such as narcolepsy.
When We Study Someone’s Sleep, What Exactly Are We Looking At?
The sleep study will be monitored continuously by a medical professional throughout the night (Comprehensive technician-attended polysomnography). This examination consists of:
- Electroencephalography (EEG) for recording brain activity and determining sleep stages
- Electrocardiogram under the chin and legs to monitor heart rhythm
- Measurement of oxygen in the blood by using pulse oximetry
- Monitoring the patient’s breathing
- Recording the sound levels of the patient’s snores
- Monitoring abnormal eye movement or teeth grinding
The sleep study will start in the early evening (at approximately 21.00 hrs., dependent on the individual’s needs). Before beginning the sleep study, the medical staff will gather information from the patient regarding their sleeping habits. This information can be gathered by either asking the patient a set of questions or having the patient fill out a questionnaire. The patient will also have to fill out a consent form. Once this is complete, the hospital staff will explain how the devices work and what will take place during the study. This includes:
The patient will usually wear a CPAP mask in cases where there is severe obstructive sleep apnea, as the hospital staff will use this to treat the patient during the second half of the night.
Once the patient is ready to go to sleep after showering, the hospital staff will begin attaching the measurement devices for brainwaves, eye movement, muscles under the chin and legs, as well as attach an electrocardiogram.
The patient will also have all the various devices and cords attached to their head, face, chin, chest, stomach, and both legs, as well as a pulse oximeter on their finger to measure the oxygen in their blood. A microphone is also attached to the patient’s neck to measure the volume of the patient’s snores. In addition, CCTV recordings will be made as necessary, and these will be monitored by hospital staff from the control room outside the sleep lab so that they are able look after the patient during the study.
How to Prepare for a Sleep Study
- Put your mind at ease. There is no need to worry as this is a painless procedure. Although you may feel a little bit unfamiliar with the equipment and devices to be used for measurements.
- Avoid sleeping during the day, especially on the day of the sleep study, as this will affect the quality of your sleep.
- On the day of the sleep lab, avoid drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages after 2PM, as this will affect the quality of your sleep. If you drink alcohol regularly, you must inform your doctor beforehand.
- You should shower and wash your hair before arriving, but avoid using conditioner, hair cream, gel, hair oil or hairspray as this will make it difficult to attach the necessary devices to your head. This is necessary to ensure that the graphs are clear and the results of the measurements are reliable. Avoid applying any powder of cream to your face, chest, or legs so that the measurement devices will stay attached throughout the night.
- Don’t take any laxatives, as this will cause your sleep to be interrupted during the study. If you usually take sleeping pills, you can take them as normal.
- Take any medications as normal, including blood pressure medication and diabetes medication, etc.
- During the sleep lab diagnosis, we allow one relative of the patient present to observe, should the patient request.
- Bring all your bedding and accessories as you would normally use while you sleep, such as your pillow or your pajamas.
- Arrive at the hospital around 2-3 hours before bedtime, in order to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings, and to allow the hospital staff 30 minutes to attach the various devices for measurement.
- Please let your doctor know if you are currently suffering from any illness, such as a common cold or flu.
- After waking up on your own, the sleep study is completed.
Bumrungrad International Hospital (BIH) Building,
9th floor, North Wing Main Lobby (exit elevators and turn right),
Bumrungrad International Hospital,