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A polysomnogram is a study that measures the quality of your sleep. A polysomnogram is also called a sleep study. Sleep studies are usually conducted in Sleep Labs. The studies are often carried out during the night so that normal sleep patterns can be reproduced.

Each study will be somewhat unique to the individual depending upon each patient and their circumstances. A typical sleep study includes monitoring the following:

  • Brain activity - Multiple sensors attached to your head record your brain waves. This reading shows the technician which sleep stage you are in.
  • Airflow - A sensor placed on your upper lip monitors the airflow and temperature from your nose and mouth. For patients that suffer from apnea, these sensors show a flat reading when there is no airflow. The temperature can determine when you inhale or exhale (inhaled air is cooler than exhaled).
  • Neutral area - A sensor clipped to your ear is used as a neutral reading; the ear is a part of the body that does not move much during sleep.
  • Breathing - Elastic belts around your chest and stomach will measure your respiratory effort.
  • Muscle tone - Muscle tone and relaxation are measured with one or more electrodes attached to your chin. It is important that this reading is low during REM sleep, the period when your muscles should be paralyzed. This reading also helps technicians determine which stage of sleep you are in.
  • Heart rate - Your heart rate and activity are monitored with multiple sensors attached to your chest or back.
  • Oxygen level - A device that measures oxygen levels (oximeter) is clipped or taped to either your finger or earlobe. In patients with sleep apnea, this measurement can determine how serious the apnea episodes are.
  • Leg movements - If RLS or PLMD is suspected, sensors will be placed on your legs, usually near the knee.
  • Body position and movement - The last area observed is your body position and any other activities
  • Audio and Video Taping

If you think you have Sleep Apnea, the best thing to do is have a study done.


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