If you are having sleep-related problems, your doctor may recommend that you participate in a sleep study.
Diagnosing and treating difficulties with sleep is important because, left untreated, they can lead to other conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and depression.
PCCMA performs sleep studies at its comfortable in-house sleep lab and sleep labs affiliated with Geisinger Holy Spirit and UPMC Pinnacle.
What is a sleep study?
Polysomnography, or PSG, is the medical term for a sleep study. It is an overnight exam that provides insights into your brain and bodily functions while you sleep.
Specifically, sleep studies are used to diagnose:
- Circadian rhythm disorders (jet-lag and work shift-related disorders that affect your internal “body clock”)
- Sleep apnea (breathing problems during sleep)
- Narcolepsy (extreme sleepiness)
- Insomnia (inability to sleep)
- Restless leg syndrome (uncontrollable urge to move your legs)
- Periodic limb movements
What to expect
Sleep study patients typically spend a night in a sleep lab to complete the study.
Though located at a medical facility, the lab looks nothing like an exam room. Rather, it looks like and has the comforts of a hotel room.
You’ll be asked to arrive a couple of hours before your normal bedtime.
To prepare for the study, a sleep study specialist (known as a polysomnographic technologist) will place tiny sensors on your head and body. The sensors are painless and will not affect your ability to move comfortably during sleep.
By detecting subtle electrical pulses, the sensors will monitor a range of vital signs and activity during your sleep including your blood oxygen level, heart rate, breathing and body movements. The sensors also will monitor your brain waves to evaluate your sleep cycles.
You can wear your own clothes and bring your own personal items to the study. The sleep study specialist will be available throughout the night if you have questions or need assistance.
After the study
Once completed, your doctor will evaluate all the data from your sleep study to determine your diagnosis. The evaluation process can sometimes take up to two weeks. Your doctor will then schedule a follow-up visit to discuss your results and the best treatment plan for you.
To request an appointment with a PCCMA doctor to discuss a sleep-related problem, complete this online form or call us at (717) 234-2561.