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Guide to Sleep Labs and their Function

Since most people are unaware of this craze, let me spend a brief time to explain what a sleep lab is.

Basically, it is a room where a clinician or technologist works with electronic electrodes which he attaches to a patient’s head, two on each leg, and two on the chest for the purpose of checking the heart rate. It also has two sensors in your nose monitoring airflow, a band around your chest and one around the abdomen, an oximeter which measure your blood oxygen on your finger and one your neck, a microphone to monitor sound.

The reason for all these contraptions is simply to study your sleep. People think that losing a few hours of sleep every night is not really a big deal but you may have been experiencing sleep loss for years. So what is the big deal about losing sleep?

Some people feel tired all that time and this might be caused by sleep disorders, which comes in three kinds. And there could be a number of potential underlying causes, but without the proper diagnoses treating the root cause will only result to further disorders. There are different way to treat sleep disorders but this depends on the diagnosis. Insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, parasomnias, and snoring are some of the most common type of sleep disorders.

You need to prepare a number of things before you go for sleep study. First is that you hair should be clean and without any hair sprays, oils, gels, and other hair products. You also need to pack your overnight bag as you would do if you are to stay in a hotel. If you are used to having a snack before bedtime, then you can bring some snacks, but your caffeine should be limited to one cup in the morning and after two in the afternoon, you should stop taking it. You should not take any alcohol on the day of the study, and if you are taking any medications, your clinician should be informed about it. Another important thing to bring along is that if you have a favorite pillow, you may want to bring it with you also.

One thing you will realize is that sleeping in the center is not exactly the same as sleeping at home. It might take you longer to fall asleep and as many patients have reported the quality of their sleep is not as sound as that they have at home. And the reason for this is due to the contraptions and monitoring devices attached to your body. But this does not really interfere with getting accurate information from your sleep study.

To overcome this consciousness, it is important for the patient not to mind all of these attached mechanisms and focus on bringing your body to a position that you are comfortable in and let the technician know if anything is uncomfortable as there is often some flexibility in the positioning of the monitors.

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