If you experience difficulties with your sleep, you doctor may order a sleep study. But what is it? What can you expect? And what are the benefits?
What is a sleep study?
A sleep study is a non-invasive medical test that monitors your sleep. It’s done to diagnose sleep disorders that can’t be identified by a normal visit to the GP. This test helps diagnose:
- sleep apnoea
- periodic limb movement disorder
- narcolepsy (excessive daytime sleepiness)
- restless legs syndrome
- REM sleep behaviour disorder.
Sleep studies can be done in your own home, or in a sleep clinic.
You and your doctor will decide whether to have your sleep study in your home or sleep clinic. A sleep clinic is a carefully controlled environment which might mean the most accurate results. However, sleeping in an unfamiliar environment may make it hard to sleep at all, meaning performing the actual study will be difficult.
To prepare for a sleep study a Sleep Scientist applies multiple electrodes and wires on your body — from your head, to your legs. While these don’t hurt, you may be slightly restricted as they are attached to a central monitoring box that limits your ability to move freely.
What does this test measure?
Put simply, a sleep study measures what your body does when it’s asleep. These measurements provide a great deal of information about your sleep patterns.
The leads and monitors all measure your brain waves, eye movements, heart rate, breathing patterns, blood oxygen levels, body position, chest and abdominal movement, limb movement and snoring.
These results are used to diagnose any sleep disorder you may have.
Why have your sleep analysed
Good quality sleep is vital for overall health and wellbeing. Poor sleep can affect your mood, concentration and memory, reaction times, immune system, sex drive and contribute to weight gain.
Decades of research shows that the cumulative long-term effects of sleep loss and sleep disorders contribute to a wide range of serious health problems. These include increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke.
A sleep study can identify if you have a sleep disorder, so your doctor can recommend appropriate treatment to improve your sleep.
Treatment depends upon the results of your sleep study.
How do you know if you need a sleep study?
Everyone has trouble sleeping from time to time. Sometimes replacing your mattress, setting up your room for sleep and making some lifestyle changes can be enough to get it back on track.
However, if you’re worried about your sleep, continually wake up feeling tired, feel sleepy during the day, or suffer from heavy snoring, it might be an idea to have your sleep checked.
While we can’t help diagnose sleep disorders, we can help you with a waterproof, supportive mattress that will help you slumber soundly. Check out our range online, or visit us in-store.