One of the most effective ways to diagnose sleep disorders is to observe and record various bodily activities and responses during sleep. The Sleep Disorders Center at Glendale Adventist offers a variety of sleep studies that are performed and assessed by specially trained physicians and technicians.
Overnight Sleep Assessment
An overnight sleep assessment is a controlled, in-depth study of the activities of the brain and body during sleep. Patients normally arrive between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. to prepare for the study, then spend the night in a specially equipped private room. They are free to go home soon after they wake up the next morning.
During the assessment, Sleep Center staff measure a number of functions including:
- Brain waves
- Eye movement
- Heart rate
- Respiratory movements
- Air flow
- The level of oxygen in the blood
- Muscle movements in the leg
Monitoring each of these functions gives the Sleep Center staff an idea of:
- when the patient is awake and asleep
- the depth of the patient's sleep
- how often the patient wakes up during the night
- what causes the patient to wake up
- the patient's breathing patterns during sleep
- other important clues that provide an overall picture of the patient's sleep activities.
Records made during the sleep assessment, called polysomnographs, are interpreted by a board-certified sleep specialist and the Sleep Center's medical director. From there, a report is sent to the patient's personal physician, along with recommended treatment.
A split study helps Sleep Center staff determine if treatment for sleep apnea will make a difference in the quality of sleep the patient gets. During part of the overnight sleep assessment, patients are placed on CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) to determine if that device eliminates their sleep apnea and improves their sleep.
Multiple Sleep Latency Test
The Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) helps to determine if a person is abnormally sleepy during the day and how severe the daytime sleepiness is.
During an MSLT, the patient goes into a specially equipped, dark room during daytime hours and attempts to fall asleep. This experiment is repeated four or five times during the course of the day. A Sleep Center staff member observes the patient on a closed-circuit television monitor to see how long it takes him or her to fall asleep.
Each one of the nap tests lasts for 20 minutes. People who are not abnormally sleepy will take at least 10-12 minutes to fall asleep or will not fall asleep at all. Those who fall asleep in less time have some degree of sleep disorder, and those who fall asleep in five minutes or less have a severe sleep deficit.
If the MSLT shows signs of a sleep disorder, the Sleep Center staff may perform further tests to discover the cause of the daytime sleepiness, such as insufficient sleep syndrome, sleep apnea or, in rare cases, narcolepsy. Your treatment will be based on the root cause of your sleepiness.