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Sleep Disorders

Sleep study question

05/08/2008

Question:

I had a sleep study last week- my first. I did not sleep well- a lot of tossing and turning. Will this make the study less accurate in that it may not reflect how I sleep at home? I do toss and turn at home also but I don`t think quite as much. The tech told me they could tell why I was waking up and why I did not sleep well. She said I may have to come back a 2nd night if I should need a bipap. I was being evaluated for hypoventilation and apnea and knew this was a possibility going into the study. Thanks.

Answer:

It is common for people to sleep poorly during a sleep study merely on the basis of being in a new place and being hooked up with the monitoring devices. Sleep labs generally take this into account when analyzing the results of the study. The most important thing is that you actually fell asleep, not necessarily whether or not you slept for 7-8 hours through the night.

We realize that sleeping in the lab is a snapshot of your sleep and potentially may not be fully representative of “normal” nights sleep. Sometimes, just capturing enough sleep is adequate to make a diagnosis and then a treatment plan can be developed. However, in some cases, if there is a lack of sufficient sleep or if the sleep is so fragmented or interrupted that not all sleep stages are seen, the study may need to be repeated. In this situation, the use of a sleep aid can sometimes be helpful. The Sleep Specialist reviewing your study will make this determination after reviewing your history and all the relevant data.

It would probably be a good idea to discuss the results of your study with your Sleep Specialist. They should be able to tell if what was found and whether or not you need a repeat diagnostic study, a treatment study or an alternative treatment plan.

To learn more about sleep disorders, please visit the American Academy of Sleep Medicine website.

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Response by:

James   Knepler, MD James Knepler, MD
Formerly, Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati