What is Sleeping Disorder and Types of Sleeping Disorder Tests?

June 2nd, 2019 by Vishal Saini

Sleeping disorder is regarded as the problem with the time, quality and amount of sleep that can cause problems with the functioning and also distress during the day time. There are many types of sleeping disorders where insomnia is considered to be the most common one. There are other sleeping disorders like obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome. The sleeping problems linked to not only physical problems but also mental problems. It can contribute to a mental health condition or it can be a symptom of other mental health condition.

It has been reported that in primary care, there is 10-20 percentage of people who have complained of the significant sleep problems while one-third of the adults have reported insomnia symptoms while 6-10 percentage of people meet up with the criteria of the insomnia disorder.

Having a sound sleep makes sure that your brain functions on a proper basis. Poor quality sleep has many potential consequences. The major and obvious concerns are decreased energy, fatigue, problems focusing and irritability. Decision-making ability and mood will also be affected. Sleep problems also coexist with the symptoms of anxiety or depression. There can also be chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease due to too much sleep or lack of sleep. The sleep disturbance can also be a problem indication of a neurological or medical problem like osteoarthritis, heart failure, and Parkinson’s disease.

The first and foremost thing to try is obviously changing your sleeping habits. For example, he/she can:

  1. Going to bed and waking up at the same time
  2. Not napping during the day
  3. Not doing stressful chores
  4. Being relaxed before bedtime. One can try praying, deep breathing, journaling, meditating, and gentle stretching.
  5. Keeping the bedroom quiet, dark and cool. If you want, you can use eye shades or earplugs.
  6. If you cannot sleep, you can go to another room and read or you can do something which relaxes you.
  7. Avoid caffeine in any manner
  8. Do not drink alcohol and do not smoke
  9. Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly
  10. You should avoid any large meals before bedtime
  11. You should not use phones or laptops before bed.

There are many sleeping disorder tests which will lead to a better understanding of what the problem is. The many options include:

1. Overnight Oximetry

This is regarded as one of the most general and simple forms of the earliest sleep study that is conducted on the patient. This involves the use of the probe which is worn on the earlobe or the finger that continuously measures the oxygen levels and heart rate. This is said to be accomplished with the red light and the sensor that detects the changes in the color of the blood which implies that the desaturations are occurring. This sleeping disorder tests done at home while sleeping.

2. Actigraphy

This is the measurement of the activity which is with the usage of a small, wristwatch-sized device. This device is said to monitor the movements and can also be used to assess the sleep-wake cycles, which is over an extended period of time. The device is worn for weeks or even months. This device will help decide if the disruptions of the sleep-wake cycle exist or not, as this may occur in the circadian rhythm disorders like delayed sleep phase syndrome, advanced sleep phase syndrome, or even insomnia.

3. Polysomnography (PSG)

This is known as the gold standard test for the diagnosis of sleep disorders. This involves a visit to the sleep centre that consists of a specially designated room in the hospital, specially equipped hotel or a sleep laboratory. These sleep studies can involve an overnight stay which is monitored by a trained technician. There are various parameters monitored, which are psychological in nature, like EKG, EEG, oxygen levels, respiration, eye, and extremity movements and muscle tone. There is also audio and video recording which can provide a record from the night’s sleep. These sleeping disorder tests can determine restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, etc.

4. Titration Study

Titration with the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is said to be commonly done during the same night as that of diagnostic polysomnogram (PSG), in order to save waiting time. Early treatment will reduce cardiovascular complications of sleep apnea. The technician will increase the CPAP pressure which is delivered through a soft mask to the level which eliminates all or most of the episodes of the cessation of breathing. This level of the CPAP pressure will be prescribed for home therapy. The patient will begin the night on low pressure of the CPAP. As the person goes to sleep, there will be a monitor for the disruptions in breathing.

There are more than 70 sleep disorders but the most common ones include restless leg syndrome, insomnia, sleep apnea, etc. When you have sleep apnea, you will stop breathing briefly, which is several times a night. For this, your doctor will make an evaluation which is based on signs and symptoms and also on your sleep history. You will also be referred to a sleep test centre. Over there, sleep specialists will help you know if you require further evaluation or not. The evaluation generally constitutes of overnight monitoring at the sleep centre of the patients breathing and the other body functions during sleep. Home testing is also regarded as an option.

The sleeping disorder tests (apnea test) includes:

  1. Nocturnal polysomnography: At this test, the patient is hooked up to equipment which monitors the patient’s brain, heart, and lung activity. The equipment also monitors the arm and leg movement, breathing pattern, and also the oxygen levels while the patient is asleep.
  2. Home Sleep test: The doctor will provide the patient with a simplified test which can be used at home in order to diagnose the sleep apnea. These tests measure the patients’ blood oxygen levels, heart rate, breathing pattern, and airflow.

If the results turn out to be abnormal, the doctor will prescribe a therapy, which is without any further testing. The portable monitoring devices do not detect all cases of sleep apnea. However, the doctor will still recommend the polysomnography, even if the initial results have turned out to be normal.

There is also online sleep test where you will have to answer a few questions i.e. a yes or no questionnaire. The sleep test result will help you determine if you are suffering from sleep apnea or not and you should further discuss these symptoms with a sleep specialist or physician.

Sleep apnea in children is a serious disorder which has to be treated. You can schedule an appointment with any of the accredited sleep disorder centre. There are also some centres which specialize in helping children. There will be a sleep specialist who will review the child’s history and symptoms. If required, the doctor will also schedule the child for an overnight sleep study test. This study is called a polysomnogram. This is regarded as the best way to evaluate your child’s sleep. Through the result of this study, the doctor will be able to develop an individual treatment plan, which is for your child.