Sleep studies can be done in the patient's homeor at a sleep lab. Either way, you will need to give your patient a referral orprescription for them to pass on to the sleep study provider.
During a sleep study, your patient's breathing, body movements and responsesduring the night are monitored to see if he or she has a sleep disorder such assleep apnoea.
Below is some information you can pass on to your patients about what happensduring a sleep study.
In a sleep lab
In a sleep lab or hospital, a sleep technician will place sensors on yourpatient's body to monitor their sleep.
Sensors are placed:
on the chest to monitor heart activity
close to the eyelids to measure eye movements that help indicate if the patientis in REM or non-REM sleep
on the head to measure electrical signals from the brain
on the legs to assess muscle activity
Patients will also be fitted with:
a nasal cannula to monitor breathing
an oximeter on their finger to record oxygen levels
bands around their chest and stomach to measure breathing effort
With your patient's permission, staff may also request to film the sleep studyto gain more insights into the patient's sleeping behaviour.
During this type of study, your patient will be required to stay overnight atthe facility, so they should take everything needed for their usual sleepingroutine, including pyjamas and toiletries.
A home setup is similar to that in a hospital or sleep lab – but a patient canremain in their own home. Prior to the sleep study night, a sleep technicianwill have shown your patient how to apply the sensors and monitors, and how touse the recording device during the night.
The night of the sleep test, the patient simply follows a normal eveningroutine and gets ready for sleep, sets up the equipment, and starts therecording. In the morning, the patient returns the recording device to thehospital or sleep lab.
What do sleep studies measure?
Amongother things, the sleep study will indicate the severity of your patient'scondition, which is classified according to an apnoea hypopnea index (AHI).
Measured during the sleep study, AHI refers to the number of apneas andhypopneas your patient has per hour.
In addition to the patient's AHI, the diagnosiswill take into account the patient's oxygen desaturation. Once you receiveyour patient's sleep study results, you can then talk to him or her about thecondition (if it's present), it's severity, it's possible health effectsand treatment options.