Sign up now & begin receiving our email newsletter! Health information, tips, nutrition from a source you trust!

Sleep Apnea Symptoms and Sleep Studies at The Sleep Center PDF Print E-mail

Sleep History Questionaire
- (PDF Download)

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Major signs and symptoms of Sleep Apnea include:

  • Loud and chronic snoring
  • Daytime sleepiness, no matter how much time you spend in bed
  • Choking, snorting, or gasping during sleep
  • Long pauses in breathing
  • Waking up with dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headaches
  • Restless or fitful sleep
  • Insomnia or nighttime awakenings

Other signs and symptoms of sleep apnea may include:

  • Going to the bathroom frequently through the night
  • Waking up feeling out of breath
  • Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
  • Moodiness, irritability, or depression

**If you are experiencing three or more of these symptoms, you may want to discuss them with your physician to see if a sleep study will be of benefit to you. Left untreated, Sleep Apnea can lead to a multitude of other serious health issues in the future.


What to expect during a sleep study:

A Polysomnogram(PSG) is a multiple-component test, which electronically transmits and records specific physical activities while you sleep. The recordings become data, which will be read and analyzed by a qualified sleep physician to determine whether or not you have a sleep disorder.

On the date your sleep study is scheduled, it is very important that you follow the instructions the sleep center gave to you regarding meals, medications, and other issues so that they don’t interfere with the sleep study results. For example, alcohol and caffeine can interfere with your sleep and should be avoided. You should also avoid taking a nap the day of your study because it will affect your ability to fall asleep at the start of your study.

Pack a small bag with comfortable sleep attire, toothbrush, and other items that you will need the next morning. Many patients like to bring their own pillow(s) for better sleep. Your room has a private bathroom so you will be able to shower, dress, and go straight to work if necessary.

Upon arrival to the Sleep Center you will be escorted to your private room by one of our Registered Ploysomnography Technologists (RPSGT). At this time the technologist will go over some admission paperwork with you and will ask you fill out a sleep history questionnaire. After completing the paperwork, the technologist will ask you to step into your bathroom and change into your sleep attire so that they can begin preparing you for the sleep study.

Preparation for your sleep study involves the technologist placing numerous surface electrodes and sensors on your scalp and body. A key part of a sleep study is understanding what is happening while you sleep. By attaching electrodes to your body, the recorded electrical signals generated by your brain and muscle activity are sent back through the electrode wires to a computer that is being monitored by your technologist. The patterns of this activity can be recognized by the sleep physician who reads and interprets the study. These valuable clues reveal whether or not you have a sleep disorder and its degree of severity if present. Preparation can take 45 – 60 minutes or more in order to get everything connected properly. The technologist will have you sit in a comfortable chair in your room while placing the electrodes on you. The electrodes are temporarily “glued” to your scalp and skin. The glue is water soluble and comes off easily the next morning when the electrodes are removed.

Each technologist will typically have two patients that they will be preparing and monitoring through the night. A cable television is provided in your room for your viewing pleasure before, during, and after preparation. The Sleep Center is also equipped with internet access through Wi-Fi so bring your laptop computer with you if you like.


Types of Sleep Studies

A polysomnogram (PSG), also simply referred to as a sleep study, is an overnight, noninvasive study that a physician orders to determine whether or not an individual has Sleep Apnea or possibly another type of sleep disorder. There are a number of different types of sleep studies that physicians order, depending upon symptoms and other diagnoses. The following are the most common types of sleep studies physicians order:

  • Basic PSG – General monitoring and evaluation in the sleep center to determine if a patient has Sleep Apnea or the likelihood of a different type of sleep disorder. Used for diagnosis only
  • Split Night PSG – This type of PSG starts out as a basic PSG. If, during the study, certain pre-established criteria are met that indicate Sleep Apnea is present, your technologist will come into the room and place you on a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device and will attempt to resolve Sleep Apnea during the same night. Used for diagnosis and possibly treatment.
  • CPAP titration – This study is ordered when the results of a Basic PSG is positive for Sleep Apnea or when the diagnosis was not able to be made early enough during a Split Night PSG to attempt or adequately treat Sleep Apnea.
  • Multiple Sleep Latency Testing (MSLT) – An MSLT is sometimes ordered for a patient who has symptoms of Sleep Apnea and has undergone a Basic PSG or a Split Night PSG but did not have Sleep Apnea or another type of sleep disorder noted during the study. MSLTs are used to determine a patient’s level of sleepiness and to rule out the possibility of narcolepsy. When an MSLT is ordered, the patient undergoes another full night sleep study in the sleep center and undergoes a series of 5 naps the following day at two hour intervals after awakening in the morning. Each nap generally lasts about 20 minutes and then the patient is awakened until its time for the next nap to begin. At the end of the 5 naps, a calculation is performed that averages the amount of time it took for the patient to fall asleep in each nap and the final average is considered to be the patients Mean Sleep Latency. The sleep physician then uses the Mean Sleep Latency of the patient to determine how to proceed in treating the patients symptoms. Narcolepsy is usually suspected if a patient enters the REM (dream) stage of sleep in two or more of the naps.