A sleep apnea test or sleep study is a
test that is designed to monitor your respiratory rate, brain activity,
and other physical aspects while you are sleeping, and the most common
such test is known as a polysomnogram.
your doctor suspects that you have sleep apnea or pretty much any other
sleeping disorder, and recommends that you undergo such an examination,
it will traditionally be carried out at by a team of sleep specialists
at a sleep
center, although home testing is becoming more and more
Can You Expect During Your Sleep Apnea Test?
you are undergoing a sleep study at a sleep center, you will be
required to spend a
night in the center while connected to different
machines monitoring various bodily functions. Many people are
absolutely petrified when their doctor informs them of this and
instantly fear that they will not be able to fall asleep properly thus
ruining the test results.
fear is usually even more magnified once
the individual actually enters the sleep center lab on the evening of
their test as the machines look like they would be quite uncomfortable
and make it difficult to fall asleep. After all, you will be sleeping
in a strange bedroom, surrounded by machines that are connected to you
in various places, all with a team of sleep specialists monitoring your
While this all night
sound quite daunting, most people actually fall asleep quite easily
as the sleep center is designed to be as comfortable as possible
and most testing rooms resemble an actual bedroom.
the time comes for your sleep apnea test, the sleep technician
will place belts around
both your abdomen and chest to measure your
breathing. The technician will also attach
electrodes to your scalp and
face to record muscle and brain activity.
they will place a
small probe on your finger to measure the level of oxygen
your blood, as this will help determine the severity of your sleep
apnea. Generally speaking, the lower the oxygen level in your
bloodstream, the more severe the disorder.
will also be a nasal
airflow indicator to measure your airflow and an
electro-oculogram which measures eye movements to help determine which
stage of sleep you are in. Most sleep center labs also have a
microphone nearby to record the amount and level of snoring.
being connected to the machines, you will then try to fall
asleep, and once asleep, a team of sleep specialists will constantly
monitor all of the information coming from these machines to help
determine the severity of your sleep apnea, as well as at which stages
of sleep it is most prevalent.
Word About Home Sleep Apnea Tests
sleep studies are becoming increasingly common, and many people
choose to perform their sleep apnea test this way because they feel
much more comfortable sleeping in their own home.
fact, many sleep
experts are starting to
recommend home sleep studies over the
traditional sleep lab based study for the same reason.
This way, they are able to get a more
accurate overview of the patient’s
sleeping habits when the patient is allowed to sleep in a situation
that they are used to.
there are a few downsides to home sleep studies, as they are a
simplified version of the lab based studies and therefore
not actually pick up on all types of sleep apnea. In general, a home
sleep test will still monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen saturation
level, breathing rate, and airflow. This type of test uses less
equipment and is therefore usually much cheaper, albeit
you take the results back to your doctor, they will look mainly at
your breathing patterns to see if you show signs of having any apneas
or cessations in breathing. Then they will correlate this information
with your blood oxygen levels to look for a pattern.
person has sleep apnea, their blood
oxygen saturation will drop during
each apnea, and then slowly come back to normal after they have woken
up from each episode. If the apneas are very frequent or long lasting,
the level can drop to sometimes less
than 70% of normal, in which case
the patient is diagnosed as having severe
most cases where a person uses a home sleep study, if the doctor
sees anything out of the ordinary, then they are usually able to
treatment or therapy without the patient having to undergo
if the results are abnormal as well, the
doctor may still recommend that the patient undergo a polysomnogram
a sleep center lab. For more information about how to interpret a
polysomnogram throughout the stages of sleep, check out Clint's article
on his website called Sleep and Dreams.
Happens After the Sleep Apnea Test?
the sleep study indicates that the patient has sleep apnea, then the
sleep specialist or your doctor will most likely recommend that you
then visit with an ear,
nose, and throat (ENT) doctor to try and
determine the cause of the disorder. In most cases, it is due to an
obstruction of either the nasal or throat air passage which makes it
difficult to breathe, which is known as obstructive
ENT doctor cannot find any obstructions, then they may refer you on to
and possibly a neurologist
to see if there are any other
reasons for your sleep apnea. Apneas which are not caused
by blockages are referred to as central
sleep apnea, a much rarer and
potentially more serious condition.
a doctor or specialist has properly diagnosed the type of sleep
apnea you have and the causes, then they will begin you on a treatment
method to help lessen or eliminate your condition.
to Sleep Apnea Help
to the Snoring