Sleep studies are diagnostic tests that monitor what happens to your body during the different stages of sleep. Sleep stages are comprised primarily as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM). Normally, NREM and REM alternate 4 to 5 times during 8 hours of sleep. Sleep studies determine the primary and/or underlying cause of your poor sleep. Some common sleep issues are:
- Sleep apnea, this is when you stop breathing, or have a reduction in breathing, during sleep for 10 seconds or longer. This may be caused by blocked airflow during sleep, or it may be caused by a problem with how the brain signals the breathing muscles to work.
- Problems staying awake, such as narcolepsy.
- Problems with nighttime behaviors, such as sleepwalking, night terrors, or bed-wetting.
- Problems sleeping at night (insomnia). This may be caused by stress, depression, hunger, physical discomfort, or other problems.
- Problems sleeping during the day because you work at night or do rotating shift work. This sleep problem is called shift work sleep disorder.
- Conditions such as periodic limb movement disorder, which is repeated muscle twitching of the feet, arms, or legs during sleep.
- Bruxism, or teeth grinding can also disrupte sleep and contribute to daytime sleepiness.
Sleep studies are important because untreated sleep disorders can raise your risk for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and other medical conditions. Sleep disorders listed above also have links to increased risk of injury, such as delayed motor skills, falling (in the elderly), and car accidents. Poor sleep can also lead to a decrease in your job performance and separation from your family life.
You may not be aware of your snoring, stopped breathing (sleep apnea), and unusual body movements while sleeping unless witnessed by a bed partner. Daytime Sleepiness causing you to power down coffee and energy drinks excessively can be a big clue to a possible sleep disorder. You may never think to talk to your doctor about issues that might be related to sleep problems. However, this website can help educate you to learn about the importance of healthy sleep.
Fear not! Sleep disorders can be treated. Give us a call at 425-286-6256 if you snore regularly or feel very tired during the day. Take our quick sleep questionnaire!