Overnight Sleep Studies
INTRODUCTION
A VISIT TO A SLEEP DISORDERS FACILITY FOR A SLEEP STUDY IS LIKELY TO BE A NEW EXPERIENCE FOR YOU. A SLEEP STUDY, OR POLYSOMNOGRAM, ( SOMNUS= SLEEP ) IS A RECORDING THAT INCLUDES VARIOUS MEASUREMENTS USED TO HELP IDENTIFY AND DIAGNOSE SLEEP DISORDERS. THIS BROCHURE WILL HELP YOU LEARN MORE ABOUT SLEEP TESTING PROCEDURES SO THAT YOUR EXPERIENCE WIL BE EASY AND INTERESTING.

WHY DO I NEED A SLEEP STUDY?
A laboratory sleep study is considered the “gold standard” to accurately diagnose sleep disorders. In order to fully understand your sleep , various brain activities and body systems and their relationships will be observed throughout the night. After the study, a sleep specialist will review and interpret the record to help you understand your sleep patterns and sleep problems. Treatment recommendations will be made if evidence of a sleep disorder is found.

SLEEP- It is not a simple process. Many parts of the brain control sleep and its different stages. These levels or stages of sleep include drowsiness, light sleep, deep sleep, and dream sleep. It is possible to identify which stage of a sleep a person is in by measuring different activities of the brain and body.

PREPARING FOR THE SLEEP STUDY
On the day of your sleep study, avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, and cola, chocolate) after 12:00p.m. And try not to nap. Avoid alcohol unless otherwise directed by your sleep specialist. Before coming to the sleep center, wash your hair with shampoo only, dry your hair and do not apply hair sprays, oils or gels.

It is important for your sleep professional to know if you are taking any prescribed or over the counter medication, since certain medications can affect sleep and the interpretation of a sleep study. Sometimes certain medications need to be discontinued gradually prior to a sleep study so that the results can be interpreted correctly. Do not discontinue any prescription medication without first talking with your healthcare professional.

“YOU SHOULD PACK AN OVENIGHT BAG, AS YOU WOULD FOR AN OVERNIGHT STAY AT A HOTEL OR A FRIEND’S HOUSE”

Before coming to sleep center, you should pack as if you were going to spend a night at a hotel or a friend’s house. You may wish to include your own pillow and extra clothing. If you have special needs, advise the sleep center personnel so they can accommodate you.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN I ARRIVE AT THE SLEEP CENTER?
When you arrive at the center, usually between 5:30 and 9:30 pm, the technician will greet you and show you to your bedroom. You will be shown the equipment that will be used and you will be given a chance to ask questions. You should inform the technician of any changes in your sleep or specific difficulties you have not already discussed with your healthcare professional. There may be some paperwork for you to complete.

“WASH YOUR HAIR WITH SHAMPOO ONLY, DRY YOUR HAIR AND DO NOT APPLY SPRAYS, OILS, OR GELS.”

You will have time to change into nightclothes and get ready for bed as you do at home. There maybe a waiting period before the technician starts getting you ready for the sleep study, and you can relax during this time. If you have a commitment in the morning (If you have to be at work at a certain time), be sure to inform the sleep technician prior to your study so your wake up time will be confirmed. Next, approximately two dozen sensors which are generally small metal discs (called electrodes) are applied to the skin of your head and body using an adhesive. These sensors monitor the activities that go on in your body during sleep. These activities include brain waves, eye movements, breathing through your mouth and nose, snoring, heart rate, and leg movements. Flexible elastic belts around your chest and abdomen measure your breathing. A clip on your finger or earlobe monitors the level of oxygen in your blood and your heart rate. None of these devices are painful and all are designed to be as comfortable as possible. The electrodes may feel strange on your skin at first, but most people do not find them uncomfortable or an obstacle to falling asleep. The sleep specialist recognizes that your sleep in the center may not be exactly like your sleep at home. This usually does not interfere with obtaining the necessary information from your sleep study in order to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. If you have questions or concerns about the application of the electrodes (if, for example, you use a hearing aid, wear a hairpiece or are sensitive to certain chemicals,) contact your doctor or speak with the technician before you arrive at the center.

HOW WILL I BE ABLE TO SLEEP IN A STRANGE ENVIRONMENT WITH ALL THOSE WIRES ON ME?
This is the question asked most frequently by patients prior to sleep studies. Many people expect the sleep center to be cold, bright, technical, and impersonal looking. At most sleep centers however the surroundings (and especially the bedrooms) are homey and comfortable, like a hotel room. Most patients fall asleep quickly. Some sleep disorders centers offer medication to patients who have significant difficulty falling asleep.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE SLEEP STUDY?
The technicians will stay awake all night while you sleep to make sure that you are safe and also to monitor your sleep. They and their technical equipment will be in a room separate from your sleeping room. You will be able to roll over and change positions almost as easily as you would at home because the wires are gathered together in a kind of ponytail behind your head. You should feel free to sleep in your customary position.

SUMMARY
A sleep study is like spending a night in a hotel. Most patients fall asleep quickly. We hope your experience at the sleep center will be a good one. Understanding the sleep process and the evaluation of sleep disorders will help you take an active and positive role in your own care.
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240 Williamson St., Suite 300, Elizabeth, NJ, 07202   Ph: 908-994-8880   Fx: 908-994-8882
2052 Morris Ave, Union, NJ 07083   Ph: 908-206-1117   Fx: 908-994-8882


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