Sleep Studies

(Above) The sleep studies lab in our Morgan City, LA location.

We perform sleep studies to determine what is disturbing your sleep. During a sleep study several variables are measured:

  • Brain Waves 
  • Oxygen Levels
  • Heart Beat 
  • Breathing Effort
  • Air Flow
  • Leg Movement 

A sleep study is painless. Patients simply spend the night in a comfortable, private, sleep study room. Our rooms are decorated to make you feel like you’re sleeping in your bedroom, not a facility.

What to Expect at the Sleep Study

Please watch the video below from John’s Hopkins Medicine. Your sleep study experience with SSM will be similar to the one depicted in the video.

Another good video showing what to expect during a sleep study is provided by Indiana University Health. The video below shows some of the tests and equipment similar to the ones used by SSM.

On the Day of your Sleep Study

  • Bring a list of your prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) medications with you on the night of your study.
  • Medications are NOT allowed to be brought into the facility.
  • Take all bedtime medications just prior to your arrival to your sleep study. A sleep aid should NOT be taken unless specifically prescribed by your ordering physician for you to take on the night of your sleep study. NOTE: You will be required to have a ride to and from your sleep study if a sleep aid is prescribed.
  • Eat all your normal meals prior to arrival (meals\snacks will not be provided). Do not drink caffeinated beverages in the afternoon.
  • Bring your normal, comfortable sleepwear and non-slip footwear. NOTE: Sleepwear must be worn. Hospital gown will not be provided by the facility.
  • Bathe and shampoo your hair before you arrive – do not use hair gel, hair spray, or body lotions. Hair weave or hair pieces must be removed prior to sleep study.
  • Be aware that during the sleep study, a water-soluble paste will be used to secure electrodes to your scalp. You will want to allow time on the following morning to return home to shower before commencing with your usual day.
  • If you wear acrylic fingernails, you will need to remove one for the sleep study.
  • Bring your driver’s license\or ID and insurance card.
  • Leave valuables at home. SSM and our affiliated sleep labs are not responsible for lost or missing items.
  • You will be asked to put away all electronic devices (laptop, cell phone, tablet, etc.) at lights out.
  • The sleep tech will not be able to give you the results of your sleep study in the morning.

What Happens After my Sleep Study?

The data gathered on the night of your sleep study will be scored by a Licensed Registered Polysomnographic Technologist. Once it is scored, a Board-Certified Sleep Specialist will review it (the interpreting physician may or may not be your ordering physician). The interpreting physician will then produce a Final Report – which includes an impression and recommendation based on the data collected from your study. When it is returned to SSM, we will forward it to your ordering physician. This process can take 2 weeks. SSM will never contact a patient to review test results. You should arrange follow up with your referring physician.

Additional Sleep Study Information

A sleep study or polysomnogram (PSG) is an overnight test during which several physiologic functions are monitored. These include brain activity, eye movements, muscle tone, heart rhythm, airflow from the nose and mouth, breathing effort, blood oxygen levels and leg movements. Attaching electrodes to the surface of the scalp or skin monitors most of these functions. The skin is not punctured.

Six (6) electrodes attached to the scalp monitor brain activity. The electrodes are attached with paste which is easily removed in the morning. The patient’s brain activity is monitored to determine if, during the sleep study, the patient is asleep or awake and to determine the patient’s then-current sleep stage(s).

The patient’s eye movements are measured by placing electrodes near the outer edge of each eye. Eye movements are measured to determine if the patient is in the stage of sleep where vivid dreaming occurs –REM (rapid eye movement sleep).

Muscle tone is measured by placing two (2) electrodes—both are placed on the patient’s chin. Heart rhythm is measured by placing two (2) electrodes on the chest. Airflow from the nose and mouth are measured by a small device called a thermistor placed beneath the nose. Airflow is measured to determine if the patient is experiencing sleep apnea. This is a disorder in which there are either pauses in airflow (apnea) or reductions in airflow (hypopnea) during sleep due to obstruction of the upper airway.

Breathing effort is measured by placing elastic belts around the chest and abdomen. These electrodes are placed over the pajamas and help to determine the type of breathing problems that are occurring.

Blood oxygen level is measured by placing a small device on the finger. This device shines a small red light into the finger and is completely painless.

Leg movements are measured by placing two (2) electrodes on each leg. Leg movements are measured to determine if the patient has a disorder in which the legs twitch repeatedly throughout the night

Each patient bedroom has a television, bathroom, and a comfortable bed. Electrode attachment takes about an 30-40 minutes. A patient will usually go to bed with lights out between 10:00 pm. and 11:00 pm. The lights-on time is usually 5:00 am. We routinely record video of the study so that it may be viewed by the referring physician.

After the electrodes are attached, the electrode wires are wrapped into a bundle to prevent tangling. All the wires plug into a small box that is connected to recording equipment in a nearby control room. If the patient needs to visit the restroom during the night, the box can be unplugged and carried into the restroom. It takes about five (5) minutes to disconnect all the electrodes in the morning.

Continuous positive airway pressure (or CPAP) may also be used during the patient’s sleep study. A CPAP machine is a device that delivers room air through a hose and into a mask that is worn over the nose\nose and mouth. The mask is kept in place by elastic headgear. The incoming air helps to prevent the upper airway from collapsing, thereby eliminating the breathing pauses that are occurring in sleep apnea syndrome.

The Different Sleep Tests

SSM can conduct a comprehensive array of sleep tests:

Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT)

MWT is a test meant to objectively measure your ability to stay awake, which can infer how sleepy you are. The test may be used to assess your response to treatment of various sleep disorders.

Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)

MSLT is used extensively to test for narcolepsy, to distinguish between physical tiredness and true excessive daytime sleepiness, or to assess whether treatments for breathing disorders are working.

CPAP/BIPAP Titration Polysomnogram Study

This is the same study as the above PSG with the addition of CPAP/BiPAP treatment. The study is started on a low pressure that is adjusted throughout the night until the optimal pressure is obtained.

Polysomnogram (PSG)

A polysomnogram is a multi-parametric procedure that measures bodily functions during sleep to assist in diagnosis sleep disorders.

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