How did you sleep last night? Did you get seven or eight hours in bed, but you still feel tired? If so, you may have a sleep disorder. According to the experts at the Adena Sleep Center, there are 88 classified sleep-related disorders.
Sleep disorders are generally not detected by your physician during a routine office visit. The most common sleep disorder we hear about is sleep apnea, a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness. This is when a person stops breathing for prolonged periods of time during sleep. To find out if you have a sleep disorder, your physician may order for a “sleep study,” to determine the cause of tiredness or other problems.
The Adena Sleep Center performs approximately 100 sleep studies each month. Traditionally, the patient comes in to the Center in the evening (daytime sleep studies are conducted for people who work overnight shifts) and are set up in a comfortable, quite bedroom. The patient is hooked up by a number of electronic leads that will enable the technologists to monitor their breathing patterns, heart rate, etc. through the night. The results are later read and shared with the patient’s physician for follow up and treatment.
Recently, Adena also began offering “at-home sleep studies.” The at-home option allows the patient to be studied from the comfort of their home, while sleeping in their own bed. “For some patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea, home testing works well,” said John Waite, Cardiopulmonary Manager. “It is often more convenient for the patient, and there is a cost savings.” Because of the lower cost, many insurance companies are now requiring a home study over the traditional clinical setting.
For a home sleep study, the patient picks up the sleep monitor kit from the Sleep Center, and receive a brief orientation about the equipment. Then before bed, he or she puts on a chest belt to monitor breathing, a nasal cannula to monitor respiration and a heart monitor on the finger. The equipment then records the information, which is downloaded when the patient returns the equipment to the Sleep Center the next day.
While accurate in most cases, there are some drawbacks if monitoring devices aren’t properly placed or come off in the night. “Because nobody is watching them, if something comes off you don’t know it until the patient brings the equipment back in,” said Cheryl Wheeler, Lead Sleep Technologist. “Once we download it and discover we don’t have a complete study, something has to be done to get a good diagnosis.” This usually means the patient will have to either do the home study again, or come in for an attended sleep study. Cheryl added, “When there are complications or mistakes during the home test, it can delay the patient getting a good diagnosis.”
Regardless if the patient has a home study or an attended study at the Adena Sleep Center, they can be assured they will get quality results and services. “Our lab is accredited and focused on patient quality and compliance with that accreditation,” added Waite. “Even with home testing, our patients will always get a quality study.”
If you suspect you may have a sleep disorder, talk to your primary care physician and inquire about a sleep study. Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that requires long-term management. Lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, surgery, and breathing devices can successfully treat sleep apnea in many people.
Watch a video to see how the home sleep test works.