A Diagnostic Sleep study‚ also called a Diagnostic Polysomnogram‚ is the best way to diagnose which specific sleep problem you are suffering from. The test typically starts in the evening by coming to the sleep lab to spend the night. You will be greeted by your monitoring sleep technician who will show you to your private bedroom where the test will be conducted while you sleep.
Next‚ the technician will begin the “hook up”‚ which means placing sensors at specific locations on the head‚ chest and legs. These sensors will monitor the following while you sleep:
•Electroencephalogram or EEG sensors are placed on the head to monitor brain wave activity. This is used to see if you are sleeping or not‚ and if so‚ what stage of sleep you are in. It is also critical to monitor this activity for arousals‚ or brief awakenings‚ caused by sleep apnea or RLS.
•A small nasal canula will measure air flow into the airway and be used to tell if you have stopped breathing or if you are having trouble breathing.
•Electro–oculogram sensors or eye movement sensors determine the stage of sleep known as REM sleep or Rapid Eye Movement sleep in which most dreaming takes place.
•Electromyogram or EMG sensors monitor muscle movements of the legs and will tell if you are twitching your legs.
•Sensors placed on the chest monitor your heart rate and rhythm commonly known as an EKG or electrocardiogram.
•A light plastic finger clamp fits over the tip of the finger and shows if the oxygen in your blood dips to dangerous levels due to an apnea.
•Two separate belts wrap around the chest and abdomen to verify the effort your diaphragm is making to breathe along with showing if you sleeping on your back‚ side or belly.