Sometimes you try your hardest to address our sleep issues on your own. You go to bed on time every night, eliminate caffeine, try hypnosis, and even get a prescription – but sleep isn’t in your repertoire.
If this happens, you may need the help of professionals who can help you get to the root of the problem and diagnose your sleep disorder so that you can find a solution that will work for you.
A sleep study may or may not be covered in part (or fully) by your insurance provider – because some consider it elective participation, even if your lack of sleep is causing medical issues. Check with your insurance company to see what kind of coverage they offer for sleep disorder studies.
Most sleep studies are performed at a sleep study center, but some companies will come to your home and set up monitors in-house so that you stay in a sleep setting that’s normal for you. You’ll be hooked up to some wires so they can monitor your sleep and you’ll relax and hopefully fall asleep so they can capture the data they need.
They’ll be conducting a PSG (Polysomnogram) where they record the physiological data while you sleep. This includes an EEG (electroencephalogram), EOG (electrooculography), EMG (electromyography), EKG (electrocardiogram), as well as your respiratory patterns, limb movements, and other variables.
When you go, you’ll be asked to bring two-piece pajamas so they can easily hook up the electrodes. You won’t be able to wear any hair products such as conditioner, hairspray, or gel.
They’ll probably ask you to not drink caffeine after noon and bring your usual medications with you. Most sleep study centers allow you t bring entertainment materials like books or magazines as well as your favorite pillow.
If you’re having the sleep study done on a weeknight and have to go straight to work the next day, make sure you ask whether or not the center has showers for you to get ready. If they don’t, you’ll want to make sure that you will be out early enough to have time to go home and get ready for your workday.
After your night’s sleep, the sleep study will have a professional analyze the data and forward your results to your doctor. They’ll take note of your brain waves, heart rhythms, eye and leg movement, and oxygen levels.
The doctors will be looking at what makes you sleepy, how long it takes you to fall into a deep sleep, and what causes you to awaken during the night. Armed with this information, you and your physician can make a decision about the course of treatment that best suits your situation.