Everything You Want to Know About a Sleep Study

Clinical research organizations in USA have done a lot to cure deadly diseases. For example, contracting hepatitis C once meant that a person would need to take drugs for their entire life and possibly need a new liver. Today, close to 95% of hepatitis C patients can be cured through a simple drug treatment.

But disease is not all that clinical trials are designed to address. We are also trying to grow our understanding of chronic condition. Epilepsy studies and paid depression studies are continuing to advance our knowledge of these conditions and improve treatment. The PSG sleep study is one of the best ways of understanding the complexities of insomnia. In fact, the PSG sleep study can help diagnose a sleep disorder as well as give researchers more information about a problem that afflicts so many Americans.

What Is a PSG Sleep Study?

This type of study takes place overnight at a sleep clinic or hospital. During the study, the person sleeps in a room designed to mimic a hotel room. While the person sleeps, polysonograms monitor the stages and cycles of sleep through the night. This monitoring can tell when there has been a disturbance in the sleep cycle by monitoring brain activity, breathing rates, and muscle activity.

What Happens In a PSG Sleep Study? The first step is scheduling a sleep study, and this is usually done either because a patient has discussed their concerns with insomnia with a healthcare provider, or because the patient has volunteered to help sleep specialists. Patients arrive in the late evening, finish any paperwork, get hooked up to the right equipment, and then have some downtime to prepare for sleep. A technician will monitor the entire sleep study. The technician will be in a separate room from the patient so that the patient can have as close to a natural sleeping experience as possible during the PSG sleep study. There is a communication set up between the two rooms.

What Kind of Disorders Can Be Detected with This Test?

Central nervous system disorders like narcolepsy can be detected through a PSG sleep study. It’s also possible to detect disorders related to breathing, such as central sleep apnea. Those suffering from restless leg syndrome or bruxism can also have it officially diagnosed through PSG sleep study. The study can also determine whether a person has a circadian rhythm disorder such as delayed sleep phase syndrome. Finally, a PSG sleep study will also detect sleepwalking, REM behavior disorder, sleep paralysis, and other parasomnias.

How Do Researchers Evaluate the Study Results?

Researchers will take a look at 30 seconds worth of data at a time, so it can take a week or more for a patient to hear back on their specific sleep study results. Some of the things that technicians and researchers are looking for are chin movements, breathing rates, blood oxygen levels, brain waves, eye movements, leg movements, and heart rhythms.

What Kind of Equipment Is Used?

There are a lot of different things that can cause insomnia or disturb sleep, so there are quite a few different types of equipment involved in a PSG sleep study that help technicians gather all the necessary data. Belts around the chest and the diaphragm measure breathing. A cannula in the nostrils measures inhalation and exhalation. A pulse oximeter on the finger will measure blood oxygen levels, and a sound probe place nearby can also determine how much snoring a patient does and help researchers tell the difference between an ordinary snore and sleep apnea event.

An EEG is placed on the head, and this piece of equipment is able to measure brain activity and determine the stage of sleep at any point during the night. EOG electrodes measure the movements of the eyes, which also helps to determine sleep stages. EMGs electrodes will be placed on the legs and the chin to measure muscle movements in these areas, while an ECG will measure heart activity.

The PSG sleep study is one of the best ways to understand insomnia and sleep-related disorders. Whether you’re suffering from insomnia or want to help researchers understand more about this complicated and difficult condition, consider participating in a PSG study.