Which Sleep Study is Right for You?

sleep studyDid you realize that up to 70 million adults in the United States are believed to have a sleep disorder? Unfortunately, all too often patients go years before realizing their condition which can result in some serious consequences; irregular heartbeat, heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure and diabetes are all associated with untreated sleep disorders. Fatigue, stress, morning headaches, depression, irritability, anxiety, decreased cognitive abilities and lower sex drive are also symptoms to be on the lookout for.

Sleep disorders can range from mild to extremely severe and they need to be correctly diagnosed for effective treatment. A sleep study is the best way for your doctor to diagnose or rule out a sleep disorder. But what type of sleep study is right for you? Let’s look at them; There are four different types of sleep studies that can be conducted:

  • Polysomnogram – studies brain activity, heart rate, blood pressure and eye movements. It also records air movement through the nose, snoring, chest movements and oxygen in the blood.
  • Home Sleep Study – Similar to a polysomnogram except with a portable monitor. Measures the amount of blood oxygen, heart rate, chest movements and air movement through the nose.
  • Multiple Sleep Latency Test – Measures daytime sleepiness; typically used to diagnose narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomonia
  • Maintenance of Wakefulness Test – Measures the ability to stay awake and alert and is used to determine if daytime sleepiness is a safety concern.

The most common sleep study conducted is the polysomnogram which is typically done at a sleep center or in a hospital setting. It is becoming more common however for physicians to conduct home sleep studies, depending on the type of sleep disorder they are looking for. If a physician suspects that you have moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and have no other significant medical conditions, then a home sleep study may make more sense than an in-lab sleep study. The cost for an in-home sleep study is significantly lower and there is no lag time waiting for an appointment at a sleep center.

An in-lab sleep study will provide a more comprehensive evaluation of critical sleep patterns and is recommended for patients who are suspected of another type of sleep disorder than OSA.  Also, if there is a history of pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure or neuromuscular diseases it is not recommended to have a home sleep study. A physician or sleep specialist will go over the different options available to the patient depending on their medical history and suspected sleep disorder and will help set up the appropriate study for the best results.