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What should I expect during a sleep study?

What should I expect during a sleep study?

Two types of sleep study are possible. The first type of sleep study will take place in the comfort of your home. These are the most widespread studies because they have the advantage of placing the patient in their natural environment. The second type of sleep study will take place in a sleep laboratory or hospital. A room will then be assigned to a technician.


Home sleep studies 

If the sleep study that is recommended to you takes place at home, you will meet with a respiratory therapist who will explain in detail how the recording device works.  He will tell you how to install the various monitors. Do not hesitate to ask questions if you have doubts about how to proceed.


Laboratory sleep studies

In the sleep lab, the electrodes that record your sleep parameters are installed by the technician. This test is more complete than a home study, as laboratory analysis also measures brain activity during sleep. Once the preparation completed, you will be asked to go to sleep.

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Sleep recording

As seen above, the number of recorded parameters varies depending on the type of sleep study. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), the sleep study should test and record a minimum of 2 respiratory parameters, cardiac activity and the blood oxygen level. To achieve this, a band is placed around your chest to measure the movements of your rib cage during breathing and a pulse oximeter will be on the tip of your finger.

In a sleep laboratory study, surface electrodes are put on your face and scalp to record electrical activity of your facial muscles and your brain. The various monitors used are:

EEG: electroencephalography to measure brain activity

EMG: electromyogram records the activity of facial and legs muscles and allows to identify the deep sleep phase (REM).   It is during this sleep phase that we dream and brain activity is increased.

EOG:  Electro-occulogram to record eye movements. These movements are important to identify the different sleep stages and REM sleep.

ECG: electrocardiogram to record cardiac frequency and pulse

Nasal air flow sensor

Microphone to record snoring
The monitors that will be installed will seem uncomfortable, but most patients fall asleep without difficulty whatsoever whether examinations are done in the laboratory or at home. The results will be analyzed by your healthcare professional and he will then contact you to give you the results.

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