A sleep test is conducted on a person who is suspected of having a sleep-related disorder. Depending on your symptoms, the sleep doctor may recommend one or several types of sleep tests.
The sleep test is usually done inside a sleep clinic. It is supervised by sleep specialists and sleep technicians. A sleep doctor is a medical doctor who has undergone a special training in sleep medicine. They need to pass a sleep medicine exam before they get accreditation as a sleep doctor.
For people suspected of having sleep apnea, the test is typically done inside a sleep clinic or sleep lab. Through a process called polysomnogram, a person’s vitals while sleeping is monitored. This type of sleep test is very costly but it can be covered by your insurance. Another less expensive option is having a sleep test done at your own home. Other sleep tests can also be done such as the Multiple Sleep Latency Test which is to test you for excessive daytime sleepiness.
Types of Sleep Test
1. Polysomnogram (PSG)
This test is usually done inside a sleep clinic with the aid of a sleep specialist. It would require an overnight stay inside the sleep clinic. The purpose of this is to record your biophysical changes while sleeping. The sleep technicians will monitor your brain and muscle activity, eye movements, heart rhythm and breathing functions.
As much as 22 or more wires will be attached to various points of your body before you sleep. This is necessary for the monitoring of your vitals. After the test is complete, the result is printed and given to the sleep doctor for proper treatment recommendation.
2. Home Sleep Study
A home sleep study or home sleep test is pretty much like the polysomnogram except that you can do it inside your own bedroom. Most doctors prescribe this lately to enhance patient comfort. It is also less expensive for patients who have no insurance coverage. However, it is not recommended for children or extremely old men.
The home sleep test kit is prescribed by the doctor and ordered through a supplier. It is then delivered directly to your home. An instruction manual comes with it and you only need to follow it. It would probably look like a small computer. It will have wires that you must attach to various points of your body.
Usually, a simple “on” and “off” button is all it takes and you can begin the test while you sleep. The gadget will record your vitals and you can then send to results to your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
3. Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)
This is a diagnostic tool to measure the amount of time a person wakes up to full wakefulness until the person falls asleep. For patients being diagnosed for sleep apnea, this will measure their excessive daytime sleepiness. Typically, the test is performed after a polysomnography or an overnight sleep study.
Monitoring of vitals such as the brain waves, muscle activity and eye movement is also conducted. The entire test will last for approximately 7 hours. Usually, the person is asked not to take stimulants such as coffee, alcohol, tea or chocolate which might affect sleepiness. To make sure, sometimes a urine test is conducted.
A pre and post test questionnaire is given to the patient. During the study, the patient will be asked to take a nap for 20 minutes and then awakened. The process is repeated every 2 hours for 4-5 repetitions. A sleep specialist or neurologist will then review the results of the latency test.
4. Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS)
This really simple daytime sleepiness test only requires you to answer several questions. How likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in certain situations? Try to answer this test to see measure your daytime sleepiness.
SITUATION – Refer to your usual way of life in recent times. Even if you have not done some of these things recently, try to work out how they could have affected you.
- Sitting and reading
- Watching TV
- Sitting, inactive, in a public place
- As a passenger in a car for an hour
- Lying down in the afternoon
- Sitting and talking to someone
- Sitting quietly after a lunch without alcohol
- In a car, while stopped for a few minutes in traffic
Here’s how you score it. Chance of dozing : 0 = would never doze; 1 = slight chance of dozing; 2 = moderate chance of dozing; 3 = high chance of dozing
Score of 1 – 6 : you’re getting enough sleep
Score of 4 – 8 : you tend to be sleepy during the day; this is the average score
Score of 9 – 15 : you are very sleepy and should seek medical advice
Score of 16 or greater : you are dangerously sleepy and should seek medical advice