Do you remember when you were a child, and sleep just came naturally? You may not have even woken up when your mom or dad carried you inside to bed after a long car ride home.
As we age, sleep — at least “good” sleep — can become elusive. If lack of sleep is disrupting your daily life, it may be time to sign up for a sleep study.
Common Symptoms of Sleep Disorders
One of the most common indicators of poor sleep is daytime fatigue. This could be due to snoring, which may point to sleep apnea, or excessive movement from something like restless leg syndrome. Sometimes, people have trouble falling or staying asleep without a clear cause.
“There are various reasons why people might have poor or disruptive sleep that would indicate a need for a sleep study,” says Dorothy (Dottie) Love, a registered polysomnographic technologist at Stoughton Health Sleep Disorders Center.
Children can also have problems with sleep. Stoughton Health offers sleep studies for pediatric patients starting at two years old up to seniors. In fact, Love recalls a patient she assisted that was 98 years old.
What is a Sleep Study?
Sleep medicine has progressed rapidly over the last decade. A sleep study monitors brain activity, a patient’s stages of sleep, how much sleep they’re getting and any sleep disruptions.
“We also monitor their respiratory activity — not only their air flow — but how hard it is for them to get a breath in, their oxygen levels and what is called CO2, or their exhaled gas,” notes Love. “We assess movement at night and eye movement so we can determine when they go into dream sleep.”
Tips to Prepare for Your Sleep Study
Love recommends a few tips for sleep study participants to implement so they can make the most of their study. It’s advised to limit fluid intake in the afternoon prior to the study, as well as intense exercise. It’s preferred for participants to refrain from taking sleep aid medications unless indicated.
For children, Love suggests two hours prior to the sleep study’s commencement. A child may benefit from a parent or caregiver reading a book or snuggling with them to help them relax.
There are times when a patient may need to come back for an additional night for a sleep study.
“If we have someone who is unable to get to sleep or we don’t get enough information during the recording, we will have them come back. Sometimes, we do two-night studies. The first night will be diagnostic that tells us what the problem is. Then the second night is a treatment study so we can implement a specific treatment the doctor orders,” shares Love.
Don’t Let Sleepless Nights Keep You From Living Your Best Life
Proper sleep is so essential to overall health, and everyone should get restful sleep. Love urges anyone who is not getting quality sleep, or suffering from daily fatigue, to undergo a sleep study.
To have a sleep consult to determine if you need to undergo a sleep study, please call the Sleep Disorders Center at 608-873-2210.