Many types of healthcare providers refer patients for Sleep Health Evaluations. They may be general practitioners, pulmonologists, neurologists, cardiologists, surgeons or pediatricians. There are also doctors who are board-certified sleep specialists and practice "sleep medicine."
An evaluation may consist of a history and physical with specific screening tools utilized to assess your condition. In order to fully understand your sleep, your healthcare provider may recommend a sleep test, or polysomnogram, which will evaluate your sleep concerns.
Sleep is not a simple process. It is not just a "time out" but also an active period that renews us physiologically and psychologically. If we do not sleep for any reason, it may cause fatigue and sleepiness the next day. Chronic sleep problems may lead to mood swings, irritability, inability to concentrate, drowsy driving, accidents as well as depression. Other consequences can occur, such as weight gain and the development of high blood pressure, possible heart attack and stroke.
The sleep study is an out-patient, non-invasive, painless test that typically requires six to eight hours to conduct. The Sleep Health Center's private bedrooms are similar to hotel rooms. The rooms are supplied with pillows and blankets, but some patients prefer to bring their own pillows for comfort.
When you arrive, you will be greeted by a member of the staff and shown to your private bedroom. There will be some paperwork to complete before you change into your nightclothes. Our staff will discuss the testing procedure with you and take your vital signs prior to application of the leads.
Various sensors will be placed on your scalp, face and body. None of these are painful and are designed to be as comfortable as possible. The scalp, or EEG sensors, monitor brain wave activity and the levels or stages of your sleep. This requires a paste that is applied on the scalp and in your hair, which easily washes out with warm water and shampoo in the morning. You will also have sensors that monitor your EKG, heart rate, oxygen, snoring, breathing, eye movements and muscle tension.
After you've been prepared for the test by the technician, you will want to start relaxing. If you like, you may read a little. Once in bed, the technician will monitor you from a different room. If you need to get up during the night, you will be unplugged from the main monitoring cable and be able to move freely to the bathroom.
In the morning, all of the sensors will be disconnected. A board-certified sleep specialist will review each study after it is completed. A sleep study report containing testing results and treatment recommendations will be sent to your healthcare provider.