Sleep problems are common among the American population, as almost a third of adults struggle in this area of their life.
While there are many techniques out there for improving our sleep, some people find these approaches ineffective or too time-consuming. Consequently, a quicker, deeper level of analysis is needed.
This is where a sleep study comes in. These are usually conducted by trained experts using technological equipment. They help determine the underlying causes of your sleep problems so that better problem-solving measures can be taken.
In this article, we discuss 3 benefits of sleep studies, first offering a brief overview of what a sleep study is.
What is a Sleep Study?
There are 4 main types of sleep studies that are utilized by sleep doctors for analysis.
The most in-depth study is called a polysomnogram study, which entails sleeping overnight at a sleep center. This allows doctors to measure various biophysical changes that occur while you sleep, specifically eye movement, brain waves, heart rhythms, body temperature, and muscular activity.
This kind of sleep study is used to diagnose various sleep disorders like sleep apnea, insomnia, and circadian rhythm disorders.
Outside of the polysomnogram study, there is also a Multiple Sleep Latency Test and a Maintenance of Wakefulness Test. Both of these focus on sleepiness and energy levels during the day. They are often used if people have an history of being excessively sleepy during the day, particularly to diagnose disorders like narcolepsy.
Lastly, a Home Sleep Study exists that give patients the ability to perform a test in the comfort of their own bed. Patients usually take home various devices that record changes while they sleep and then return the data to their doctor for analysis.
Course of Treatment
Sleep studies are beneficial when people are unable to determine the cause of their problems. Many sleep disorders are insidious and affect people not only before they sleep but while they are sleeping.
Thus, it can be difficult for people to collect enough information about their patterns, especially when they are unconscious.
Some people choose to utilize their spouse for data collection, but this can place a tremendous burden on them.
Sleep studies will get to the bottom of your problems and allow doctors to prescribe a course of treatment. With sleep apnea tests, for example, which measure the quality of our breathing, this might result in recommendations to wear a sleep mask, undergo surgery, or make certain lifestyle changes.
Instant Feedback on Possible Sleep Issues
Many people spend years trying to diagnose themselves, seeking various treatments and medicines that they are ultimately uncertain about. They suspect that something is wrong with their sleep pattern, but their hunches are rarely confirmed by scientific tests.
Sleep studies can provide this certainty, so you can avoid wasting your time with unnecessary treatments.
It doesn’t make sense to wear a sleep mask, for example, if your difficulty breathing at night is a function of allergies.
Alternatively, a sleep study might conclude that you aren’t getting enough slow-wave deep sleep per sleep cycle, which might mean using deep music or meditation to help you fall asleep.
Regardless, you can find out this information instantly instead of spending weeks or months performing self-experiments.
Change in Environment
Even though it’s quite unnatural to be hooked up to various medical devices while doctors monitor your vital signs, the underlying purpose of a sleep study is to engender a good environment for sleep. If you don’t sleep during the study, it will be very difficult for the doctors to make any kind of conclusions.
Thus, sleep studies, though not ideal – often represent a better alternative to the sleep regimen we use at home. Many of us develop such unhealthy sleep patterns over the years that we do not even recognize their impact until we sleep elsewhere.
Also, there’s something about sleeping in a test facility that focuses the mind, which is often what people need to sleep. Sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep deprivation are often caused by incessant worrying and reflecting, which can be connected to many of our home routines.
At a sleep center, it will be difficult to constantly check our e-mail, watch excessive television, our get into an argument with our spouse, all of which are highly stimulating and antagonistic to healthy sleep.
Our Final Thoughts on Sleep Studies
We think many home remedies exist to help with sleep disorders, but if these techniques prove ineffective, then we recommend utilizing a sleep study.
These in-depth tests provide a deeper look at your biology when you sleep and can provide instant results that help doctors determine a course of treatment. As such, they are indispensable tools for combatting disordered sleeping patterns.
Feature image via FreeCPAPAdvice