What’s An In-lab Sleep Study?

sleep study sleepyfish 1

sleep study sleepyfish 1

An in-lab sleep study provides a sleep physician with the most complete evaluation of your sleep. You will be required to stay overnight at a sleep center, hospital or a hotel room.

A sleep physician may recommend an in-lab sleep study to:

  • Test for sleep-related breathing disorders including sleep apnea.
  • Evaluate behaviors during sleep due to parasomnias
  • Diagnose narcolepsy or hypersomnia along with the MSLT
  • Titrate or calibrate the levels of continuous positive airway pressure in patients who receive CPAP therapy for sleep related breathing disorders.

Four Types of Sleep Studies

1. Polysomnogram (PSG)

A polysomnography is an overnight sleep study that records brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, body movement, and more. Polysomnograms are used to help diagnose some of the following:

  • Sleep related breathing disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
  • Sleep related seizure disorders
  • Sleep related movement disorders such as restless leg syndrome (RLS) and periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD)
  • Sleep related disorders caused by excessive daytime sleepiness

2. Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)

A MSLT is a sleep study that is performed during the day to measure how sleepy you get or to discern whether breathing treatments for your disorder are working properly. MSLT’s generally follow a Polysomnogram and record whether you fall asleep during the test, and if so, which stages of sleep you enter. In am MSLT you are generally given five 20-minute nap opportunities spaced 2 hours apart while a sleep technician monitors your brain activity and eye movements. An MSLT is often used to test for narcolepsy.

3. Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT)

A MWT is a daytime sleep study that measures how alert you are during the day and your ability to stay awake. They are usually performed after a PSG and can help determine if your sleepiness is a safety concern. Results of a MWT can be critical if a person’s job involves public transportation. Often, employers will require an employee to have a MWT if they have a history of excessive daytime sleepiness or other related sleep disorders.

4. CPAP Titration Study

A CPAP titration study is occasionally necessary if your diagnosis for CPAP pressure settings were not clear during your polysomnogram test. The titration study is a follow-up test for calibrating the exact pressure needs that your CPAP will ned to be set to for your continued therapy. It’s very similar to a polysomnogram in that you are connected to the same equipment, but you will also be using a CPAP machine and mask all night. You will get to try on various mask styles to find the ones that works best for you and your needs, and the technician will find your ideal pressure setting during the night.

Bottom Line

For some patients suspected of obstructive sleep apnea, the sleep physician may recommend a home sleep apnea test instead of an in-lab study. A home sleep apnea test uses different equipment that you can set up yourself.

An in-lab sleep study is the way to ensure that you have the proper diagnosis for a sleep disorder. Speak with your health care provider if you think you might need a sleep study.

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