Have you been told you snore? Has your bed partner heard you choking in your sleep? Well, chances are you may have a sleeping disorder and may need a sleep study to diagnose the issue.
Snoring, sleep apnea or other breathing disorders can be treated with a CPAP machine or with a less invasive oral appliance. In order for your sleep dentist to treat you with an oral device, your medical doctor must diagnose you with a sleep disorder. This can be done by recommending a sleep study.
What is a Sleep Study?
A sleep study, also known as polysomnography, is a non-invasive procedure that happens overnight. It allows doctors to monitor your body’s activity while you sleep, especially your heart rate, oxygen levels, snoring and body movements.
What to Expect in a Sleep Study
The patient is asked to sleep in a dark room that is prepped with the required equipment to measure sleep activity. Sensors and/or electrodes will be placed on the head and body to record the activity and the patient is monitored all night by polysomnographic technicians. Data is recorded and forwarded to your doctor for evaluation.
With the advancement of sleep medicine, the majority of sleep studies can be done in the comfort of one’s own home with equipment given to you by the sleep doctor or dentist.
Understanding Your Sleep Study
Sleep studies help doctors and your sleep dentist get an overall picture of your sleep state. It’s one of the best ways to monitor sleeping disorders and physical symptoms.
Electrodes measure the total sleep time by measuring brain waves that are elicited during your “sleeping” state.
The ratio between total sleep time and total recording time is measured to gauge sleep efficiency. The time it takes to fall asleep after lights out is called latency. These recordings help to identify sleeping disorders and what causes them.
The four stages of sleep are measured to see if you are getting restorative sleep or not. The stages are characterized by light sleep and slow wave sleep and REM and Non-REM activity are measured.
Arousals and Awakenings
These results indicate your tolerance for sleep disruptions. Snoring, sleep apnea, disrupted breathing, etc., can cause problems, especially if they occur 5 or more times. Chronic sleepiness is usually caught with these results.
Sleep disruptions are usually caused when the upper airway is blocked, leading to snoring and sleep apnea. These results measure the amount of oxygen and consistency of your breathing.
According to your results, your sleep dentist /sleep doctor will prescribe treatment for your symptoms and/or conditions.
Usually, patients are told to opt for a snoring treatment, which helps them to breathe freely with oral appliances. If sleep apnea has been diagnosed, patients may have to use appliances like the CPAP or mandibular device to hold the tongue into place.
If your sleep has been disturbed for a consistent period of time, it’s time to speak to your doctor about getting a snoring treatment or doing a sleep study to understand your symptoms better.