Episode 38


Sleep Studies 101

In the clinic, I am often asked about the purpose or utility of sleep studies and what they can tell us.

In this episode, I provide a little overview of the different kinds of sleep studies and what their results can indicate.

Sleep diaries - the subjective logs of sleep/wake timing and quality - are at the foundation of insomnia management. Other subjective questionnaires are useful in the diagnosis and tracking of various sleep and circadian issues.

Wrist worn actigraphy watches are helpful in the management of insomnia, disorders of excessive daytime sleepiness, and circadian disorders.

Home sleep testing volume has been increasing due to the convenience of getting it done in your own bed, and lower costs. Home sleep tests are only useful in the diagnosis of sleep disordered breathing, but as the most prevalent sleep disorder, at the root of why many people experience insomnia or daytime sleepiness, a convenient cheap test is a welcome one.

Studies done in the sleep lab include the multiple sleep latency test to objectively assess one's sleepiness, required for many diagnoses of hypersomnia.

And the gold standard polysomnogram or PSG is the most relied upon assessment in most accredited sleep centers, and is useful in the diagnosis and management of nearly every sleep disorder. And despite all the hesitation about all the sensors involved and being in a new environment, everybody sleeps, and qualified sleep experts in the form of licensed registered polysomnographic technologists ensure that everything from data collection to the human experience all goes smoothly.


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