Nothing refreshes us like a good night’s sleep. We awaken rejuvenated, energized and ready to take on the day. But for as many as 70 million Americans, the simple pleasure of 6 to 8 hours of nightly slumber is an elusive goal.

The American Sleep Association reports that 50 to 70 million suffer from persistent persistent sleep disorder. Many of us are aware of the most common sleep problems – insomnia, snoring and sleep apnea. Disrupted sleep factors like these become a recurring, long-term problem for most people who develop them.

Types of Sleep Disorders

But modern sleep studies have also identified a wide array of specific disorders. The only way to get to the bottom of what condition a particular person may be suffering from are formal sleep studies conducted by professionals.

Fortunately, a number of diagnostic tools have been developed that make the process of pinpointing sleep disorder causation more accurate.

Gathering Data During Sleep

For example, adult PSG, which stands for polysomnography, is a system which monitors a variety of factors, including eye movement during sleep, brain activity, muscle activity and heart rhythm. There is also PSG for children called pediatric PSG. It involves the same tests but may also include something called ETCO2 monitoring. ETCO2 is Waveform Capnography. It’s a method of finding out how much carbon dioxide (C02) is being exhaled during sleep breathing.

Note that PSG sleep studies are performed before the patient is treated with a sleep therapy called CPAP, which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. This treatment involves wearing a mask at night that delivers pressurized air into the nose, mouth, or both. The goal is to induce enhanced, non-obstructed breathing during sleep. This form of sleep therapy has been used with considerable success for some 30 years.

Two additional kinds of PSG sleep studies are Split PSG and Titration PSG. The former involves a battery of tests and are generally conducted on first-time patients or those who have not undergone sleep studies for several years. Titration PSG is a way to determine just how much CPAP pressure is needed to alleviate a sleep disorder based on individual patient need.

Other Sleep Studies Methodologies

Sleep studies may also involve something called MSLT, which is Multiple Sleep Latency Testing. This is done during a daytime nap to determine if a patient is suffering from narcolepsy or hypersomnia. An important indicator determined by MSLT is how quickly a person can fall asleep during the day after a normal night’s sleep.

Sleep studies often include a Multiple of Wakefulness Test, or MWT. It measures a person’s level of alertness during daytime hours. MWT sleep studies are frequently given to professionals, such as bus drivers and other safety workers, to ensure they can stay alert when the lives of others depend on them.

Another of the most valuable tools in the arsenal of professional sleep studies is the Apnealink test. This monitors heart rate and oxygen levels during nightly sleep. ApneaLink is similar to something called nocturnal oximetry – a simple test in which an oxygen sensor is clipped to the finger. It tells how much oxygen is in the blood. ApneaLink offers additional data points over a basic oximetry test, however.

Sleep Disorders Can Be Treated

Highly accurate sleep study tests like make it easier to match sleep therapy methods with specific disorders. Getting tested and then being prescribed the proper sleep therapy has been a game changer for millions of people.

Sleep therapy can make a beautiful night’s sleep a regular occurrence again, and that makes for more wonderful waking hours of work, fun, play and an overall healthy lifestyle.

Valley Sleep Center has offices in the following locations:

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If you or a family member is currently undergoing CPAP treatment, we offer CPAP machines, supplies and accessories online. You may also visit our CPAP supplies store in Mesa, Arizona.