What is a Sleep Test?
If you are having trouble sleeping, your doctor may request that you participate in a sleep test. This test, which is also called a sleep study or polysomnogram, is used to determine if you are not getting the sleep you need because of a sleep disorder or other problem The sleep test is painless, non-invasive, and doesn’t require you to study or do anything else except go to sleep. Most sleep testing is conducted at a sleep testing facility like Valley Sleep Center. Participants spend one night sleeping at the testing location while attached to sensors that measure and capture what is happening while you are sleep. By looking at data points like your heart rate, eye movement, and brain activity, the sleep doctor can determine if there is an underlying sleep disorder that is disrupting your sleep.
In most cases, a sleep test refers to a polysomnogram, which is the most common type of sleep study conducted to diagnose sleep disorders. However, there are other types of sleep studies that can be used to diagnose and treat specific sleep disorders.
This in-depth sleep study is conducted at a sleep center or lab and requires at least one overnight stay. The testing is conducted over the course of the night while you are sleeping. Sensors placed at different locations on your body record your blood pressure, heart rate, brain activity, and eye movements throughout the night. Additionally, this test captures specific data related to your breath and breathing during sleep. It measures the amount of oxygen in your blood, how much air is moving through your lungs, the movement of your chest, and noise made while sleeping including snoring.
The polysomnogram is often the initial sleep test conducted because it can be used to diagnose a variety of sleep disorders including sleep apnea. Prior to the test, sensors are attached to various points on the body to capture the required data. Although the sensors are connected to wires and attached to monitoring equipment, most people do not have issues falling asleep during the test.
Other Sleep Tests
The Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) is generally ordered after a polysomnogram has been completed. This test is conducted during the day and is used to measure day time sleepiness. Used to diagnose parasomnias like narcolepsy, the test is conducted several times over the course of a single day.
The Maintenance of Wakefulness Testing (MWT) tests how well you can stay alert. Like the MSLT, this test is conducted during the day and can take most of the day. Participants are asked to remain awake during the entire testing period and their ability to remain awake while sitting still and staring straight ahead is measured.
The Home-Based Portable Monitor Test is just like the polysomnogram, only this sleep test is conducted at home. The testing equipment and information on how to perform the test will be provided by a sleep center professional upon picking up the equipment.
- What Happens During a Sleep Study? (valleysleepcenter.com)
- What is a Sleep Study? (valleysleepcenter.com)
- Do I Have a Sleep Disporder? (valleysleepcenter.com)