If your primary care physician believes you have obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or other sleep disorder, they may refer you to a sleep medicine physician who might recommend polysomnography. This test is also known as a sleep study, and it is performed in a sleep clinic. Your polysomnography may reveal the reasons for your restless sleep patterns such as apnea, where breathing stops at periodic intervals throughout the course of the night. It is essential that obstructive sleep apnea be diagnosed and treated because if left unmanaged, it can raise the risk for daytime sleepiness, motor vehicle accidents, hypertension, and possibly even diabetes. If you are anticipating a sleep study, here are some things to consider
Day Of Your Polysomnography
Your physician may recommend that you limit your intake or even avoid caffeine and alcoholic drinks during the day prior to your sleep study. Consuming caffeine and alcohol can alter your patterns of sleep, heart rate, and respiratory rate, subsequently skewing your results. Your doctor may also ask you to hold certain medications until after your test.
You should also avoid taking a nap during the afternoon prior to your evening polysomnography to help ensure that you enter into a state of deep sleep during your study. You can take a shower or bath before you get to the sleep clinic, however, avoid using makeup, perfumes, powder, or lotion on your skin because they can affect the way your electrodes adhere to your skin.
The Night Of Your Sleep Study
Your room at the sleep clinic will be conducive to sleep because the lights will be off and the atmosphere very quiet. You will be in a private room, unlike some hospitals, where you might have a roommate. While you sleep, you will be monitored by a special camera so that the sleep study technician can observe you. In addition to video, the monitoring system will also have an audio feature in case you need help or otherwise need to talk to the technologist.
To prepare you for your sleep study, the technician will place electrodes on your head, chest area, and legs. These sensors, or electrodes, are attached to a computer to monitor your breathing, movement, brain activity, and heart rate.
You will also be monitored for snoring and any other sounds that you might make while sleeping. You will also have a device clipped to your finger called a pulse oximeter, which tests your oxygen saturation rate, also known as your blood oxygen level. Once your test is over, you can go home. Your doctor will give you the results of your test at your follow-up visit.
If you believe you might have a sleeping disorder, see your doctor. When sleep disorders are diagnosed and effectively treated, you may be more likely to enjoy uninterrupted restorative sleep to promote energy, alertness, and optimal health.
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