If you have trouble sleeping, wake up tired, or are experiencing other symptoms of a sleep disorder, chances are your doctor will decide to send you for a sleep study. Also referred to as a polysomnogram, a sleep study involves being observed and monitored while you sleep. It can be scary at first to think about doing it, but there really isn’t anything to be wary of.
What’s Recorded and Observed?
The weirdest part of a sleep study is probably knowing people will be watching and monitoring you. It can be embarrassing, not to mention uncomfortable, to think about this. However, you can rest assured that the professionals who are observing you are only paying attention the medical details. They will be watching electrical impulses, respiratory readings and other data that is captured from the equipment you will be hooked up to.
Who Does the Study?
You will probably see a few different people at your sleep study. Respiratory therapists are often involved, as mentioned by the University of Cincinatti. Many sleeping disorders involve the respiratory system, so these professionals are capable of reading data and observing any issues you may have.
There may also be sleep specialists who work solely with helping patients who have sleep disorders. These are the doctors who would help you with designing a treatment plan if it is discovered that you have a problem.
Finally, you will likely have nurses. They will probably help set you up in the room and get you set up with the equipment and monitoring devices. They may also be on call if you need something during your stay.
What Will Happen?
Knowing what is going to happen will likely help to calm your nerves. Usually, studies are done at night, but they can be done at any time a person would regularly sleep. Generally, you check in like you are checking into the hospital. However, the room you will be staying is in private and looks more like a hotel room than a hospital room. You will probably be shown where the bathroom is and get an explanation of what will be happening. Then, all that is left to do is to go to sleep.
After your study, you will be checked out and can go home. You will usually have to schedule a follow-up appointment for a later date. This gives all the professionals a chance to discuss the findings of your study. Also, your general practitioner will be brought in so he or she is updated on your case. At the follow-up meeting, you will discuss what they found and what course of action, if any, is needed going forward. You may have to attend further sleep studies in the future to help alter your treatment if it doesn’t work properly.
Having to undergo a sleep study is nothing to be worried about. In fact, it is a good thing. If you are having sleep issues, it is a good idea to get checked out. Left unchecked, a sleep disorder could be very dangerous. A sleep study allows you to get the help you need to stay healthy and get a good night’s sleep.