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.


Sleep Apnea More Than Interrupted Sleep

Obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep issues can get frustrating over time. It isn’t easy to function, let alone work and raise a family or go to school, if you aren’t getting a solid, good night’s sleep. Sleep is vital for emotional and physical health, so when your sleep is interrupted by sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, you need to do something about it. Quality sleep is possible with the diagnosis and treatment by a professional sleep center. Our sleep doctors are ready to run tests and find the right course of action to help you live a better life.

Sleep apnea is one of the most common interrupting disorders of sleep. One of the most common signs of obstructive sleep apnea is loud and chronic ongoing snoring. There may also be pauses in the snoring and then choking or gasping for air may follow the pauses. Experts note that the snoring or gasping typically happens when you’re asleep so you may not even know if you’re having problems breathing or be able to decipher just how serious the problem may be. People sleeping next to you… well they may be able to tell a different story. It may not occur every night but over time, the snoring could become more often and get louder and louder – and this means interrupting their sleep too!

While not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, there are other signs you can watch for besides waking up gasping for air or having your partner tell you all about waking them up. People with sleep apnea may also be tired during work or while driving. Daytime sleepiness can be so bad that you find yourself randomly falling asleep during quiet moments in the day. Daytime sleepiness is a possible sign, but it is important to talk to a sleep doctor even if you’re rested during the day if you suspect that you’re having breathing problems during sleep, as this can still be dangerous.

Other signs and symptoms of sleep apnea can include but are not limited to morning headaches, memory and learning problems, difficulty concentrating, feelings of irritability, depression, mood swings, personality changes, waking up frequently to urinate or a dry, sore mouth when you wake up in the morning. If you deal with any of these symptoms and suspect breathing problems in your sleep, contact our sleep lab to speak with a sleep doctor. Treatment usually consists of lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, breathing devices, or possibly surgery. Our goal is always to restore regular breathing during sleep and reliving symptoms like loud snoring and daytime sleepiness. Sleep apnea taking its toll on you? Call us today!


What is hypersomnia?

Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and/or excessive time spent sleeping. Suffers of hypersomnia find hypersomniathat even with adequate amounts of sleep at night, they still experience excessive sleepiness during the day and can fall asleep at any given time. While hypersomnia shares many of the same symptoms as narcolepsy, and is often misdiagnosed as such, it is a distinctly different sleep disorder. Narcoleptics have little or no control over when they fall asleep and they experience a sudden onset of sleepiness, whereas individuals with hypersomnia experience increasing sleepiness over a period of time. Hypersomnia is a relatively rare sleeping disorder and is estimated to affect anywhere from one to five percent of the population. It rarely affects children and women have a slightly higher risk then men of developing it.

Scientists have divided hypersomnia into two categories, primary and secondary. Primary hypersomnia is diagnosed when there are no other underlying conditions causing the symptoms. Idiopathic hypersomnia is one type of primary hypersomnia whose patients suffer extreme daytime sleepiness that never ceases, even with the proper amount of sleep during the night. They tend to fall into a deeper sleep than most individuals and can sleep soundly for more than ten hours during the night and still wake up feeling unrested. It is possible for them to override the pervasive sleepiness, however eventually they must succumb to it and they will end up sleeping pretty much around the clock.

Secondary hypersomnia is diagnosed when there is an underlying condition causing the excessive sleepiness. There are several medical conditions that can cause secondary hypersomnia such as hepatic, circulatory, endocrine, renal, metabolic, psychological and neurological conditions. Other underlying sleep disorders can also be attributed to a secondary hypersomnia diagnosis such as restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea and uncontrolled circadian rhythm disorders. If the underlying conditions are not diagnosed and treated, the hypersomnia will get progressively worse until it is almost impossible to function on a daily basis.

It has been estimated that as many as forty percent of the population have experienced symptoms of hypersomnia from time to time without being diagnosed with the sleep disorder.  In order to accurately diagnose and treat the disorder, a doctor will perform a series of tests as well as discuss your normal sleeping habits over the course of several months. Some of the tests commonly performed to diagnose hypersomnia are sleep studies, CT scans and certain blood tests, sometimes doctors will also perform an EEG to measure brain activity.

Once a diagnoses has been made, a proper treatment plan will be discussed. Oftentimes hypersomnia is treated with drugs such as stimulants or antidepressants. If there is an underlying cause of the condition, such as untreated sleep apnea or some other condition, then doctors will prescribe a treatment plan for that condition first to determine if it alleviates the problem. Hypersomnia can be dangerous if left untreated and can directly impact a patient’s quality of life; it is important to talk to your doctor right away if you suspect you suffer from this condition. The longer a patient suffers from hypersomnia, the bigger toll it will take on cognitive ability and the body’s overall function.


Home sleep studies: easier, convenient and cost-efficient

Home Sleep StudyLately you’ve been having trouble sleeping at night and your doctor referred you to take an over night sleep study. The problem is, your schedule is already hectic, you’re exhausted, and there is absolutely no possible way you’re able to stay at an over night study. There is no need to stress out; many patients now have the opportunity to take a home sleep test in the comfort of their own home. Not only do you not have a long wait to schedule an appointment you even have the convenience of taking home a monitor that day after being briefed on how to operate the machine with a sleep technologist.

The home sleep study is relatively pretty easy. You will go through your normal daily routine. When it is time for bed, you place a belt around your mid section, apply an airflow sensor under your nose, and attach a clip to your finger, finally turn the machine and fall asleep. Not all machines are exactly the same; some may require you to add a few other stick-on sensors to the body. The following morning when you wake up, pack the machine up, return it to your doctor and wait to hear back with the results. Do keep in mind it could take a few days for the results.

The portable monitor will measure your oxygen levels, heart rate, airflow and breathing effort along with snoring while you sleep. Some machines will even record brain waves. If you were to go to an in-laboratory polysomnogram or PSG everything being measured is exactly the same as the home sleep study. In addition, the in-lab study will additionally measure EKG, sleep time, and leg movements and let’s not forget a licensed sleep technologist will be there to monitor you.

The cost to have an in-lab polysomnogram can cost up to $5,000, depending on what state you live in. Most insurance companies currently accept home sleep studies and actually prefer it instead of in-lab since it can cost as low as $200.

There are a few disadvantages to the home sleep test. The modified sleep study can only be used to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). All other sleep disorder studies still have to be performed at an in-lab sleep center. For those with congestive heart failure, emphysema, seizures, pulmonary diseases and neuromuscular diseases a home sleep test is not recommended. Lastly, there is always a possibly the home sleep study might not record enough data to make a complete diagnosis. If this were to be the case, your physician will have you attend an over night sleep study at an in- laboratory polysomnography.

Interested in taking a home sleep test? Talk with a sleep specialist or watch our video to learn more.


How does a CPAP machine work?

Were you diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and now every night you sleep with a CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure machine)? The CPAP helps control your breathing, giving you an undisturbed cpapnight of rest. The CPAP machine provides pressurized air to your upper airway while sleeping to keep your airway open.

The apparatus generally consists of an air compressor and either a nasal or facial mask. To help keep the mask in place while you sleep, it comes with a strap. The strap not only goes around your head but also under your chin to keep the mouth closed letting the majority of the breathing to be done through the nose. A tube then connects the mask to the machine. There is a motor that blows air into the tube and through your mask into your airway. Some CPAP machines monitor your breathing and apply pressurized air only when you need it.

The CPAP machine has a small tank for water and a filter that are designed to remove impurities and increase the humidity level in the air. This helps keep the patients from developing nosebleeds, along with dry mouth and throats.

According to the National Sleep Foundation 50% percent of the 18 million people with sleep apnea regularly use their CPAP machines. Even though the machine is quiet, some patients feel claustrophobic with the mask. Remember if you want your CPAP machine to be effective, you must wear it 6-8 hours while sleeping.

Even though CPAP machines are not prescribed to treat snoring, they help eliminate snoring in addition to sleep apnea.

If you have any questions about your CPAP machine or concerning sleep apnea contact your sleep specialist.


Sleep is More Important than You Know

When you begin to understand the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep, you can then begin to know when you’re sleeping well and when you’re not. You become more aware of your sleep habits, your body’s needs and the effects of

How many hours of sleep do we need?

See how many hours of sleep do you need based on your age.

not sleeping enough. In fact, in studies of humans and other animals, they have discovered that sleep plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions.

It may seem somewhat obvious to you that sleep is beneficial. No one will argue with that. Even without fully grasping what sleep does for us, we know that going without sleep for too long makes us feel terrible, and that getting a good night’s sleep can make us feel ready to take on the world.

Are you getting enough sleep? And how much sleep is enough sleep? Does it vary by age? The answer is that many of us are not getting enough sleep for whatever reason. Sleep loss and even poor-quality sleep can lead to an increase in errors at the workplace, decreased productivity, mood changes and negative effects on your relationships. To know just how much sleep you truly need, we have a graphic which will break it down for you – How Much Sleep Do You Need. Adults need 7.5-9 hours of sleep each night and this is below what many of us actually get. Teens require 8.5-10 hours each night and we know this is probably not the case for the majority, especially with the temptation of technology and social media.

What happens if you try to sleep, but you cannot? That is where we come in. We can start by doing a sleep test and diagnosing why it is that you are not sleeping enough. Asking us why you cannot sleep is the first step in fixing the problem. There are many reasons that you may not be sleeping enough, some of which include too late caffeine consumption, sleep apnea, Restless Leg Syndrome and many more.

So you know you are not getting enough sleep, but what effect is being had on your daily life? Well, in the short term, a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality.

Awareness can help you improve your sleep habits and in turn your safety. If you or someone you know is not getting the amount of sleep recommended by the graphic, we encourage you to come visit our sleep center and learn more about what we can do together to improve the amount and the quality of your sleep. Life is exhausting enough without getting too little sleep. Sleep more and live better with a little help from our doctors and staff.


What to Expect During a Sleep Study

Sleep studies are an important tool used to conclusively diagnose a sleeping disorder. Doctors will often recommend a patient have a sleep study performed if it is suspected that they might suffer from sleep apnea, narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia, restless leg syndrome, sleep related seizures or some other form of sleep disorder. There are several different types of sleep studies that are conducted, but the most common is the polysomnogram (PSG), which is used to help diagnose sleep apnea, sleep-related seizures and restless leg syndrome.
What to expect during a sleep study
During a PSG, you will usually stay overnight in a sleep center; the nurses or technicians will make the room as comfortable as possible and answer any questions or concerns you might have regarding the test. Once you are settled in bed, adhesive patches with sensors, called electrodes, will then be placed on various parts of your body, typically on the scalp, chest, face, arms, legs and a finger. Elastic belts will also be placed around the chest and abdomen to measure chest expansion and the strength and duration of inhaled and exhaled breaths.

The wires attached to the electrodes are very thin and flexible, and are bundled together so you can move about fairly easily, without feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmingly restricted. As you sleep, the electrodes record brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, heart rhythm, blood pressure and blood oxygen levels. This data is then transmitted to a monitor in another room where the technicians are able to monitor your sleep patterns.

If you show symptoms of sleep apnea during the procedure, it may be decided to transfer your PSG into a split-night sleep study. During a split-night sleep study, you will continue to sleep the first half of the night and then be woken up so you can be fitted with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask. A CPAP machine is a small machine that softly blows air into the mask, creating pressure that helps to keep your airway open during sleep.

The technician will periodically check how you are sleeping with the CPAP mask, while continuing to monitor all the same vitals as during the beginning of the PSG. They will then make air flow adjustments as needed or exchange the mask to achieve optimum breathing results and to get the most comfortable fit.

Once the sleep study is complete, the electrodes will be removed and you will be able to go home. Your test will then be carefully evaluated, and a sleep specialist will consult with your doctor to determine a diagnosis. If you are found to have some sort of sleep disorder, your doctor will discuss the right treatment options for you.


Do I Have Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea… you’ve heard it talked about, know people who have been diagnosed with it, and considering how tired you have been lately maybe you Sleep Apneaare wondering if YOU could possibly have this condition. Sleep apnea is the most common sleep disorder, and it is estimated that more than 42 million Americans suffer from some form of it; but how can you tell if you are one of those affected?

The three most common signs of obstructive sleep apnea are:

• Excessive sleepiness or lack of energy during the day
• Loud and insistent snoring
• Long pauses in breathing often accompanied with gasping while sleeping

While these are the most common symptoms, and most people with sleep apnea have them, they are not the only warning signs. Sleep apnea is also linked to hypertension (high blood pressure), frequent nighttime urination, waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat, depression, excessive weight or obesity and a chronic morning headache.

It is possible for anyone to develop this sleep disorder, however there are some individuals who have an increased risk of developing sleep apnea:

• Males over the age of 40
• Being overweight
• A family history of sleep apnea
• Having allergies
• Having a large neck or tongue
• Have any sort of nasal obstruction or sinus problem

The only way to positively determine if you have sleep apnea is to have a sleep study done. However, the first step we recommend to anyone who thinks they might be suffering from a sleep disorder is to take our online assessment. Depending on your results, you might then be prompted to follow up with a sleep study.

During a sleep study, we will record multiple biological functions while the patient is sleeping; we will monitor such things are brain wave activity, eye movement, muscle tone, heart rhythm and breathing via electrodes and monitors placed on the head, chest and legs. After the sleep study is completed, our team of doctors will be able to accurately diagnose whether or not a patient does in fact have a sleep apnea or some other type of sleep disorder.

There are several approaches to treating sleep disorders; it might be as simple as a few lifestyle changes such as losing weight or avoiding alcohol. In more severe cases however, a patient may be given medication, oxygen or a device called continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP). If you or a loved one thinks they might have a sleep disorder, don’t wait to have it checked out. Individuals with undiagnosed sleep apnea often go on to develop more serious conditions such as depression or diabetes and they also have an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks among other problems.


Warning! You Could be Suffering From a Sleep Disorder

Do you go through the day feeling unrested or groggy, even after a full night’s sleep? Are you constantly relying on caffeine or energy drinks to make it through the day? Do you have trouble staying awake during sedentary activities like watching TV, sitting down to read or riding in a vehicle? Don’t just write these symptoms off as stress or an uncomfortable mattress. A sleep assessment or a sleep study can help you and your doctor determine if you have an underlying sleep disorder that is causing your tiredness.

We all have days where we feel like we are dragging; maybe we stayed up too late or had to get up too early, however those days should be the exception to the rule – not the norm. It is estimated that over 40 million people in the United States suffer from some sort of sleep disorder and often don’t even realize it.

When our bodies are sleep deprived due to a chronic sleep disorder, they can’t function properly. It doesn’t take long before we start noticing the effects; depression, lack of mental acuity, weight gain and impaired judgment are just a few problems attributed to sleep deprivation. Sleep disorders also put you at risk for some more serious complications such as heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.

The most common sleep disorder is sleep apnea, currently affecting more than 18 million people here in the US. It is not the only type of sleep disorder however; insomnia, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy and sleepwalking round out the top five. There are actually more than 85 different types of sleep disorders, ranging from mild to life threatening, which makes being properly screened critical to developing a correct diagnosis and an effective treatment plan.

If you or a loved one think you might be suffering from a sleep disorder, take a minute to fill out our online assessment. Early detection and treatment of sleep disorders have been associated with significant improvements in emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing. Even a mild decrease in the quality of your sleep can considerably impact your life, so don’t wait to be tested and treated!