What is a sleep study?
There are basically three levels of sleep study…and no, a sleep study is not something you do at a sleep school!
All are non-invasive overnight tests designed to measure and record important facets of your sleep and breathing patterns to identify whether you might be suffering from OSA – but there are significant differences!
Many people are unnecessarily referred for Level 1 sleep studies, which are better known as in-hospital or in-lab studies where the patient has to be observed sleeping away from their home overnight. These tests are not only more expensive and put a heavy cost on our health care system, but are inconvenient and also often carry lengthy wait times. The turnaround time for the results is also lengthy on these overnight studies.
At The SleepGP, our Level 2 sleep studies offer similar physiologic measurements to the studies conducted in hospital and in laboratories. The big benefit is that you are studied in a more ‘real’ environment – in the comfort of your own home, and your own bed! You will also skip the hospital waiting lists and appointments are readily available. Here at The SleepGP we guarantee a two-week turnaround time for the results.
Level 3 sleep studies are a very basic test, often conducted through retail distributors of CPAP machines and pharmacies, by non-medical staff – and are not recommended as the results are far less comprehensive.
What does a sleep study tell us?
A sleep study measures a range of information including:
- Body oxygen level through the finger with an ‘oximeter’
- Airflow through the nose
- Chest and abdomen movements
- Heart activity also known as electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Brain activity also known as electroencephalogram (EEG)
- Muscle activity also known as electromyogram (EMG)
- Eye activity also known as electrooculogram (EOG)
Once you have completed your sleep study, the data will be sent to our Sleep Scientist who will ‘score’ your study and look for any signs of OSA. The results will then be passed onto one of our registered Sleep Physicians, a medical specialist who is trained to examine the results – to make a final conclusion and suggest possible treatment options.
What to expect
At your initial consultation with The SleepGP in Coolangatta, you will be taken through the step by step process on how to hook yourself up to the sleep study machine. Your kit will also include detailed instructions. You will be required to sleep overnight with the machine attached to you. The next morning, when you have completed the study, simply return the device to our clinic where it will be scored and reported on to determine a diagnosis. You will then see The SleepGP for a review of your results in approximately two weeks.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that causes people to stop breathing during sleep. This occurs when there is a complete or partial blocking of the airway due to relaxation of the airway muscles and tongue. These episodes can occur up to hundreds of times per night.