A good night’s sleep is vital for our overall health and quality of life. You know how you feel when you are not sleeping well… tired, irritable, even forgetful. If lack of sleep is becoming a chronic issue, it may be time to consider undergoing a sleep study.
At Palouse Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine at Pullman Regional Hospital, Dr. Vinod Mehta, Pulmonologist and Board-Certified Sleep Medicine Physician, performs three different types of sleep assessments:
- Overnight sleep study
- Multiple sleep latency test
- Maintenance of wakefulness tests (MWT)
The Three Different Types of Sleep Studies
With the in-lab overnight sleep study, sleep specialists monitor electrical activities in the brain, as well as the areas of the muscles in the neck, chest, and abdomen. They measure nasal air flow, and use a cardiogram to capture cardiac rhythm.
“We also check your pulse and oxygen saturation. We monitor leg movements and muscles in the mouth area. It’s really a comprehensive recording of different parts and organs of the body, and coming to a consolidated idea about what is happening in your brain functions during the different stages of sleep,” states Dr. Mehta.
This study is typically used for individuals who are experiencing chronic insomnia, whether due to issues like anxiety or depression or another common cause: sleep apnea. Treatment varies depending on the diagnosis.
Multiple sleep latency tests are performed on individuals who are suspected to have conditions such as narcolepsy or chronic hypersomnia. These patients typically don’t sleep well at night, but make up for it by sleeping during the day.
MWT is used to measure one’s ability to stay awake and alert during the day. It’s commonly used in the aviation industry, to ensure pilots are able to stay awake when they are required to fly. It is also often used to assess if sleep treatments are working.
Do You Really Need a Formal Sleep Study?
Dr. Mehta clarifies that not everyone who is having trouble sleeping needs to undergo a formal sleep study. For example, those who suffer from restless leg syndrome.
“Restless leg syndrome is a clinical diagnosis and does not require a sleep test. As a screening procedure, it may be better to go through a physician who can determine who requires a sleep study in the laboratory versus those who do not need a sleep lab.”
New Sleep Lab Accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Palouse Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine opened its new sleep lab last year, which has since been certified and accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
“The academy performs an audit, sending inspectors and physicians to assess the facility, look at all the protocols, how we are doing things. We ended up being certified in the first visit. So, we are very proud of our certification. And we are very busy. We do studies every night throughout the year,” shares Dr. Mehta.
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