What is a Sleep Study?

As the name implies, a sleep study is designed to monitor multiple physiological functions during sleep to observe any abnormalities that may indicate something is wrong with your sleep. These studies are the only way to determine for sure if one has sleep apnea.

When you undergo a sleep test, the results provide a complete picture of your sleep patterns, i.e., what happens to your body during sleep. The test monitors your brain waves to assess sleep stages, heart rate for cardiovascular activity, muscle activity to detect movements, and breathing patterns to detect interruptions in your breathing. This information forms the basis of the targeted treatment plan created by your doctor because not every sleep apnea patient responds to the same type of treatment.

What to Expect During a Sleep Apnea Test

There are two ways to test for sleep apnea: either you can take the test inside a sleep center (or a sleep clinic), or you can do it at home.

Polysomnography (In-Lab Sleep Study)

Most sleep labs are part of hospitals or health centers, but they can also operate as standalone facilities dedicated exclusively to sleep studies. They have private rooms, set up like hotel rooms, where you spend the night while a team of sleep technicians observe you throughout your sleep via various sensors, electrodes, wires, and audio-video equipment.

All these devices record data on your brain activity, heart rate, breathing patterns, blood oxygen levels, body movements, sleep position, and any sounds (e.g., snoring) and movements you make while asleep. The technician monitors the readings from another room and ensures the equipment works correctly throughout the night. The sensors are removed in the morning, and you can go about your day. A sleep specialist will analyze the data and determine if you have sleep apnea.

Home Sleep Apnea Test (HSAT)

This is a simpler version of polysomnography designed mainly to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). If you think you might have OSA, or you want a more convienant way to diagnose your sleep apnea home sleep testing near you is a prime cost-effective option.

The portable test system comes with components you can use easily without the assistance of another person: a small nasal tube, a chest/abdomen belt, a finger clip (pulse oximeter), and maybe a headband or small electrodes. The components vary from brand to brand. The device records the necessary data, which is either stored on a local central unit or sent wirelessly to a lab. A sleep specialist reviews it to diagnose sleep apnea.

Why Early Detection of Sleep Apnea is Important

Contrary to what you may believe, sleep apnea affects more than your sleep quality. If you constantly feel tired or drowsy, struggle to stay awake during the day, wake up with a headache, get easily annoyed or frustrated, snore a lot, and are having memory problems and can no longer recall names, dates, or tasks as you once could – this could all be signs of undiagnosed sleep apnea.

Think about it: you are not breathing properly in your sleep. You either stop breathing altogether or experience limited breathing 20 to 100+ times during any given night. When your oxygen levels crash, it is bound to affect all your physical and cognitive functions. No wonder having sleep apnea means a 140% increased risk of heart failure! The sleep deprivation induced by apnea episodes wreaks havoc on your cardiovascular health, immune system, and mental health. Not to mention, it is likely the reason why you are snoring so much and disturbing the sleep of people around you.

3 Major Health Benefits of Getting a Sleep Study

It Will Help You Know the Severity of Your Sleep Apnea.

The test will tell you exactly how much strain your body is in and if you have severe, mild, or moderate sleep apnea. It gives your health provider a clear picture of your physiological state, which includes:

It Will Help You Reclaim the Lost Energy Levels

Do you wake up feeling groggy and unmotivated to start the day? Do you doze off during activities that require little action, like watching TV or sitting in meetings? Have you ever nodded off while driving?

If you have less energy than you used to have and your day-to-day tasks leave you completely drained and in need of a nap(s) – even though technically you are sleeping 7-8 hours. Contact us so we can help you get a home sleep test.

The lack of breathing (apnea) or shallow breathing (hypopnea) causes you to momentarily wake up to resume breathing, although you may not even be aware of it. This continuous cycle of “waking up and going back to sleep” could repeat 20-30 times or more per hour. Early testing can confirm whether obstructive or central sleep apnea is the culprit behind your day-long exhaustion. Once your sleep health team knows for sure, they can quickly start you on the right treatment (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy, oral appliance, surgery) and give you the mental alertness and natural vitality you have been craving without relying on 8 cups of caffeine.

It Will Help You Regulate Your Emotions Better

We have all heard how lack of sleep can sometimes make us grumpy. With sleep apnea, it goes a bit deeper. Because you are not spending enough time in the deep REM stage, this sleep disorder does not allow your brain to process emotions as it should. The result is:

Remember, poor sleep affects your hormones, not just your organs. If you’re noticing a persistent shift in your emotions, a sleep study might be the answer you haven’t considered yet. Getting your sleep apnea diagnosed and treated could help lift your spirits and make you feel more connected in your interpersonal interactions.

Tired of Waking Up Tired? Contact Sleep Apnea Solutions

Dr. Rachelle Brown, DDS at Sleep Apnea Solutions, helps patients across Kansas and Missouri escape the shadow of fatigue hanging over their days with prescription home sleep apnea tests. Fill out this free sleep apnea screener online to request a complimentary consultation. Dr. Brown can guide you through the at-home testing options, and if a sleep apnea diagnosis is confirmed, we can help you determine if oral appliance therapy is right for you.