Sleep is a complex process that involves many brain segments. There are many stages in sleep which should be recognised including drowsiness, light sleep, deep sleep and dream sleep. An overnight sleep study also called as the polysomnogram is a good way to sample the sleep and evaluate the details. It measures the brain waves, heart beat and breathing pattern. It also records the movement of your eyes and legs.
You will be asked to come to the sleep centre in the evening for PSG testing. In case you work in the night shift duties, it will be done during regular sleep times in the days also. In case you are on medicines before bed time, the same must be taken before the sleep study is done. In case you are already on the Cpap / Bipap non-invasive ventilation at home then the doctor will advise you to carry your own machine for the testing to evaluate improvement or needs for change in the machine usage. Electrodes will be applied on the head and on the chin, on the forehead. These will help monitor muscle movements along with changes in brain activity. Small plastic tube put on nose will help calculate the changes in flow of air. Electrodes will be put along the chest for the evaluation of heart beats and the chest movements. Abdominal belt will evaluate the movement of stomach. There will be electrodes applied to the legs to check for leg movements. The experience doesn’t discomfort the patient, doesn’t interfere with sleep. Most people find it as a fascinating experience if they are not too anxious.
The details evaluated including the brain wave activities, eye movements, jaw movements, chest movement, heartbeat, oxygen status, leg movements and abdominal movements will be correlated to evaluate the sleep quality and the cause of the sleep disturbances. The treatment for the sleep disorders will rely strongly on the correct diagnosis of the condition.
Laboratory sleep studies are better than the home PSG’s because of round the clock available technician. There is also need for the intermittent oxygen or the change to the Non-invasive ventilation based on the real-time changes in the sleep study of the patient. The patient may have to be awaken to start with the same.
In cases with multiple comorbidities or the possibilities for life threatening arrhythmias, the patient will be asked to get the sleep study done in the hospitals surroundings. The patient is not routinely admitted in the sleep study. A consent form stating the same will be signed by the patient prior to the study. All relevant discussions should be made with the doctor in prior.