KARE 11 Reporter Jeff Olsen visited an Allina Health sleep clinic to see what a sleep study is all about, and he talked to one person who is glad he had one done.
At Allina Health Sleep Centers, we follow a simple, three-step procedure to diagnose and treat your sleep problem.
You'll meet with a doctor who will evaluate your current physical health and talk with you about your trouble sleeping. This helps us get a better idea of what may be disturbing your sleep.
At this time, your doctor may recommend an overnight sleep study, or a polysomnography.
2. Overnight sleep study
If your doctor refers you to a sleep study, relax. We'll do everything we can to make you comfortable.
Allina Health Sleep Centers have private bedrooms that are similar to hotel rooms. Most sleep tests are done during the night.
A sleep specialist will place electrodes on your chin, scalp, and the outer edge of your eyelids, which must remain in place while you sleep. These electrodes will measure the time it takes you to fall asleep, as well as the time it takes you to enter rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Heart rate and breathing monitors will be attached to your chest. A specially trained researcher will note any changes in your breathing or heart rate.
3. Diagnosis and treatment
After your doctor has had an opportunity to evaluate the results of your sleep study, we'll meet with you to discuss the results and treatment options.
Polysomnography is a special study of your sleep. It records your brain activity, eye movements, breathing, heart rate, oxygen level, and chin and leg muscle movement patterns.
For the sleep study, you will spend the night at a sleep center. The study has little to no discomfort, and it will last for at least six hours.
Purpose of the sleep study
The sleep study will help your doctor tell if you have a sleep disorder. He or she will order this test to:
understand your sleep patterns to see if you have a sleeprelated breathing disorder such as sleep apnea (stopping breathing many times at night)
see if you have any sleep-related behaviors or movements such as abnormal arm or leg movements, sleepwalking or talking
go along with a multiple sleep latency test (known as an MSLT) to see if you have narcolepsy (extreme sleepiness during the day with possible loss of muscle tone).
Parts of the sleep study
When you arrive for your sleep study the technologist will apply adhesive patches and sensors to your skin. Each patch and sensor
has a wire that connects to a recording device. The recorded information will be sent to a computer for review.
Information being collected includes the following.
Brain activity: Tiny electrodes will be attached with a special paste or adhesive to your scalp. The electrodes will record your brain waves during the different stages of sleep:
rapid eye movement (known as REM sleep), during which you dream.
Eye movements: Electrodes will be placed near your eyes. The computer will record your eye movements during sleep.
Face and leg activity: Electrodes will be placed on your face and legs. The computer will record muscle tension, teeth grinding and leg movements.
Airflow: Small electrodes will be placed near your nose and mouth. The computer will record the flow of air from your nose and mouth.
Respiratory effort: Electrodes with a belt will be placed around your chest and abdomen. The belt wires will record your chest and abdominal movements when you breathe. The test is used with the airflow sensor to confirm sleep apnea.
Heart rate and rhythm: EKG (electrocardiogram) patches will be placed on your chest. The computer will record your heart rate and rhythm.
Oxygen levels: A pulse oximeter sensor will be placed on your finger. The sensor will record the amount of oxygen in your blood. If you have sleep apnea, this test will show if your oxygen level is affected when you stop breathing.
Snoring: A sensor will be placed on your face, your throat, or the lower part of your neck. The computer will record your snoring.
An audio/video camera on the wall will record the sounds in your room, your sleep positions during your sleep and the different movements you make.
A technologist will be in a control room with the monitors and computers that record your sleep. He or she will be available to help you at any time during the sleep study. There is an intercom/
microphone in the room to let you communicate with the technologist during the test.
comfortable two-piece pajamas or a T-shirt and gym shorts (You cannot sleep in the nude or in your underwear.)
socks or slippers if your feet get cold
clothes for the next day
toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush/comb, soap, shampoo, hair dryer and other personal items (You will be able to take a shower the morning after the sleep study.)
regular medicines you take: prescription and over-the-counter (Bring enough for overnight and the next day.)
sleep diary, if you have not already given it to your doctor
anything to help make your sleep feel more like home, such as a favorite pillow or blanket book, magazines or newspapers, if you wish
continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or bi-level machine, if you have one
evening and morning snack, if you have diabetes
portable oxygen system for the ride to and from the Sleep Center, if you use oxygen at home. If you need to use oxygen during the test, it will be supplied at the Sleep Center.
What not to bring to the sleep center
Please do not bring:
jewelry or valuable items
large amount of cash
visitors, unless you have already talked about having visitors with the staff.
Preparing for your sleep study
Arrange for a ride home, if needed. Check with the sleep center to see what time you will be ready to go home.
Try to have a normal sleep the night before the sleep study.
The day of your sleep study:
Get up at your normal time. Do not sleep in.
Take your regular medicine(s) unless you received other directions from your doctor.
Do not eat or drink caffeine after noon. This includes coffee, tea, cola beverages and chocolate.
Eat a regular meal at dinnertime.
Try to keep your normal daytime routine.
Do not take a nap.
Do not drink any alcohol.
Take a shower or bath and wash your hair. Do not use any bath oils, creme rinse or hair conditioners.
After your bath or shower, do not use mousse, gel, hairspray, make-up or skin lotion. These products will leave your skin oily and make it difficult for the sensors and electrodes to stay on your skin.
Men should be clean-shaven (except for men who have permanent beards or mustaches).
If you smoke, have your last cigarette before entering the building. You will need to be nicotine-free for two to three hours before the sleep study. Allina Health is a smoke-free facility.
The study will start between 9 to 11 p.m. (or as arranged with the Sleep Center).
If you need anything during the night, speak normally out loud and the technologist will help you.
If the technologist discovers a breathing problem during the test, he or she will wake you and set up a CPAP machine. A mask fits over your nose and/or mouth. A steady flow of air from the machine enters your nose and mouth to keep your airway open while you sleep.
If the technologist needs to adjust or fix sensors or electrodes, he or she may wake you up.
You will be able to sleep until enough information has been recorded. Your doctor needs at least six hours of recorded information for the test to be completed.
The technologist will remove the electrodes, sensors and probe.
You will be able to take a shower and wash your hair.
Gather your belongings (including your pillow and blanket) to take home with you.
You may leave if no other tests are needed.
Sleep study results
If you have sleep apnea and testing indicates that a CPAP machine could help control it, the sleep technologist will talk with you about your option of having a machine ordered for you to use at home.
A doctor at the Sleep Center will interpret your study results.
You will have a follow-up appointment with your regular doctor or the Sleep Center doctor. He or she will talk with you about the results, your therapy options and answer any questions or concerns you have.
Your sleep study results will take some time to read. Please do not call your doctor for results before your follow-up appointment.
If you have any general questions, call your doctor.