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What is a sleep test or polysomnogram? Why and how is it done?

Study guide

You may also have occasional sleep deprivation, excessive sleep, or similar problems. Sleep disorders can be checked with a sleep test. If necessary, your doctor will order a sleep test to check your brain activity and sleep-related information such as physical activity, breathing, oxygen level, and heart rate, and to diagnose your sleep cycle and disorders based on the information you receive. But what is a sleep test or polysomnogram and how is it done? To answer this question, join us in this article.

Why is a sleep test done?

The normal process of falling asleep begins with a stage of sleep called slow eye movement (NREM) sleep. During this stage, your brain waves are significantly reduced, which is recorded by electroencephalography (EEG).

During NREM, unlike the next stages of sleep, your eyes do not make rapid movements from one side to the other. An hour or two after NREM sleep, brain activity accelerates again and sleep begins with rapid eye movements (REM). Sleep disorders can disrupt the sleep process. Sleep tests are performed to diagnose such disorders.

In the following cases, your doctor may recommend a sleep test:

  • Sleep apnea or other sleep-related respiratory disorders: In this condition, your breathing is interrupted frequently during sleep and returns;
  • Periodic limb movement disorder: In this disorder, you constantly fold and open your legs during sleep. This disorder is sometimes associated with Restless Legs Syndrome;
  • Sleep Attack Or Narcolepsy ‌: In this case, you experience a kind of surprise daily drowsiness and suddenly you have a sleep attack;
  • insomnia;
  • Abnormal Sleeping Behaviors: If you have abnormal activities during sleep, such as walking or sleeping a lot, your doctor may prescribe a sleep test;
  • REM Sleep Disorder: In this disorder, you execute your dreams or dreams as you sleep.

Types of sleep tests

Types of sleep tests

There are four types of sleep tests:

1. Night Sleep Test (PSG)

Shows general sleep and some bodily functions such as breathing, blood oxygen levels, heart rhythm, and limb movement.

2. Multiple Daytime Delay (MSLT) Diagnostic Test

This test helps diagnose a sleep attack and measures how sleepy you are during the day. It also shows the speed and number of times you enter the REM sleep phase. This test is done in the morning and after the night sleep test (PSG).

3. PSG evaluation and CPAP titration overnight

On the first night, you are monitored and evaluated. If your medical team diagnoses sleep apnea, on the second night, the right air pressure to treat CPAP (permanent positive airflow pressure) is calculated. In this treatment, air enters your airway through a mask specifically designed for the nose. In the following, you will become more familiar with this device and other devices.

4. PSG with CPAP titration overnight

This test is done when the medical team detects or suspects moderate or severe sleep apnea in the first half of the night test. In the second half of the test overnight, the CPAP test required to treat apnea is performed.

Side effects of sleep testing

Plesosomnography is a safe and painless test. The most common side effect of this test is dermatitis. This complication is caused by an adhesive that is used to attach sensors to your skin.

How to prepare for a sleep test?

Preparing for a sleep test

Previous actions

To perform this test, your doctor will tell you if you can take your medication as before or if you should stop taking it before the test. On the day of the test, do not consume any caffeine or alcohol, as it may interfere with the test results and increase the symptoms of some sleep disorders.

In the afternoon before the test, sleeping in the afternoon is not recommended. You can ask about taking a bath or shower before the test; But you should not use lotions, gels, colognes or cosmetics, as it can interfere with the use of electrodes.

What to bring for testing?

If you normally wear special clothing, books or magazines and pillows while sleeping, take them with you. You can take a friend or family member with you to bed as a way to feel more comfortable.

What do you expect from a sleep test?

Sleep test result

During the experiment

You go to the sleeping center in the evening and stay there all night. You will have a private room in the dormitory or hospital that is similar to a hotel room and is dark and quiet during the test. When you sleep, specialists are in another room nearby to look after you.

Your room has a video camera so that professionals can see what happens when the lights go out during sleep. There is also an audio device through which you can communicate with experts. Your room has a personal bathroom; Only tell specialists if necessary to disconnect you from sleep test equipment.

At first glance, all the equipment and observations may seem uncomfortable, but most people fall asleep without any problems.

Equipment used

Specialists place electrodes on your face, scalp, temples, chest and limbs that stick like adhesive tape. The device sends wires, electrical messages from the brain and the body’s muscular activity to computer equipment. When you fall asleep, these messages digitally record your brain activity, heart rate, heart rate and blood pressure.

The length of the wires is long enough that you can easily move during sleep. A clip is also placed on your fingers or ears to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood. Specialists can remove the wires from your body if you need to get up.

During the test, specialists may use a positive air pressure (PAP) device for sleep apnea. This device uses a nasal mask through which a gentle flow of air is transmitted to strengthen your breathing.

Constant Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) is a type of PAP. This device tries to keep your airway open during sleep by sending a constant positive airflow. For some people, a two-level positive air pressure device (biPap or bPap) may be an easier choice. This device puts more pressure on the inhale and less pressure on the exhale.

You may have the opportunity to use the device before going to bed and testing; In this case, you will not be surprised if the experts suggest that you use this device in the middle of the night. If necessary, oxygen may be used to boost your breathing during the study.

Although you may not fall asleep as comfortably at home as you do at home, this does not affect the test results. You do not need a full night’s sleep to get accurate polysomnographic results.

Other sleep tests and equipment

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure and record brainwave activity;
  • Electromyogram (EMG) to record muscle activity such as facial movements, gnashing of teeth, and foot movements; It also helps diagnose REM sleep phase;
  • Electroecogram (EOG) for recording eye movements: These movements show different stages of sleep, especially REM sleep;
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) to record heart rate and rhythm;
  • Nasal airflow sensor to record airflow;
  • Snoring microphone to record snoring or snoring;
  • Examine chest and abdomen movements during sleep.

After the sleep test

In the morning, the specialists remove the sensors attached to your skin and you go to your daily activities.

It takes a sleep specialist to review thousands of pages of test information; The results are then sent to your doctor. After seeing the results, the doctor will talk to you about it and the next steps.

Sleep test results

Sleep test results

The data obtained can include the following:

  • How long do you stay asleep at each stage;
  • Do you have shortness of breath or difficulty breathing?
  • Do you snore;
  • How is your physical condition;
  • What are the movements of the limbs;
  • Whether or not there are patterns of abnormal brain activity.

Sleep testing can also help diagnose and treat sleep disorders. The following are mentioned:

  • Brainwaves and eye movements during sleep help the medical team monitor sleep patterns and diagnose sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or REM sleep behavior disorder;
  • Cardio-respiratory changes and changes in blood oxygen levels that are abnormal during sleep and can be a sign of sleep apnea;
  • Proper adjustment of PAP or oxygen for when your doctor prescribes these for home use;
  • Abnormal movements and behaviors during sleep can be a sign of REM sleep disorder or other sleep disorders.

Sometimes, polysomnography is used to correct the sleep of shift workers who are accustomed to sleeping during the day. This test is also used to treat sleep disorders in sleep disorders.

What is your experience?

You may have experienced sleep problems as well: problems such as insomnia, excessive sleep, and sudden drowsiness during the day. Little did you know that this sudden drowsiness could be a disorder called sleep apnea. Have you ever wondered what such strange things and points this simple subject can have? Have you ever seen a doctor for sleep problems or had a sleep test experience? Be sure to share your experience with us in the comments section.

Send this article to your friends so that they can get acquainted with this interesting and important topic.

Warning! This article is for educational purposes only and you need to consult a doctor or specialist to use it. more information





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