You have heard the complaints a thousand times from your bed partner.
Your snoring is loud, annoying and if you believe everything the love of your life is telling you, it interrupts not only their sleep but also the neighbours and most of the people in the free world who are trying to sleep as well. So you have finally agreed to seek help.
You could be suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Your doctor says your persistent snoring needs further evaluation to determine if you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Sleep apnea occurs, breathing stops due to an obstructed airway.
The stoppage lasts only momentarily but the resulting, sputtering, gasping and snoring might be the noisy sounds that are keeping your significant other awake at night.
Loud snoring is only just one of the many symptoms of OSA. Other conditions associated with sleep apnea are diabetes, high blood pressure, cardio-vascular disease and stroke.
Having heard about the effects snoring can have on your general health you are now ready to listen to your doctor (and your sweetie) and are wondering about what these upcoming tests are all about.
The Epworth Sleepiness Scale test
Before making any outside referrals your family doctor or the sleep specialist will probably conducted the Epworth Sleepiness scale test. This test consists of a series of questions focusing on every day activities like watching television, sitting and reading, driving a car or being a passenger in a car.
The questions look at how easily the subject might doze off or fall asleep while performing any of those tasks. Answers to these questions play a significant role when decisions about further testing are being considered.
Once it’s been determined that further investigation is in order then an overnight visit to a sleep clinic will likely be what comes next.
Next a sleepover; (but not at your best friend’s house)!
The thought of sleeping in someone else’s bed is one thing but imagining a complete stranger watching you while you sleep borders on the bizarre.
If you proceed with your doctor’s recommendations here’s hoping you will at least be given a proper introduction. So what exactly is a sleep study anyway and what can you expect from attending this pyjama party with your new best friend?
A sleep study is a test which determines the type of sleep disorder you may have. This test is called a Polysomnography. The test will monitor your brain waves, heart rate, breathing rate and track oxygen levels in the blood. It will also record eye and leg movements during your sleep period.
The test will take all night to complete. The sleep study usually takes place in a local hospital or a certified private clinic. You will spend the night in a comfortable private room.
Sensors are applied to the face, head, chest and legs. Oxygen levels are tested by attaching a monitoring clip to the index finger. Your breathing and sensor information is monitored by a certified sleep technologist from an adjacent room. The entire test is pain free and in some sleep rooms the added bonus of television is included.
Once your sleep study is completed your sleep specialist will be able to determine the type of sleep disorder you are suffering from. If you have obstructive sleep apnea the specialist will make recommendations about proper treatment.
Polysomnography can sometimes be done at home.
If spending a night away from home is not possible people who require assessment can utilize home study tests. Due to technological advancements the Polysomnography test is now available in a newly designed portable monitor that can be left on a bedside table.
This home testing option is especially beneficial to the elderly who may lack transportation or have mobility issues. The cost of the monitor varies depending on model but some health care plans do offer reimbursement.
Depending on your choice of sleep study options both the home test and the sleep-over version provide a safe and painless testing process to determine the right path of treatment for your snoring and your obstructive sleep apnea.