Every night, millions of Americans experience less than optimal sleep. While many cases may be due to external factors, such as anxiety about a test, excitement about the next day’s activities, or stress from work, a large number of cases can be attributed to sleep disorders. A sleep disorder is a medical condition wherein the individual affected is unable to adhere to a conventional sleep schedule. It’s possible that the afflicted individual is unable to sleep (insomnia), sleeps all the time (narcolepsy), or just isn’t able to get a proper night’s rest (sleep apnea). There are a considerably greater number of sleep disorders than the ones listed, some of which seem downright unusual (Kleine-Levin Syndrome).
Regardless of the type of sleep disorder you’re affected by, receiving a proper diagnosis is the first step towards treatment of the condition. If you feel you’re lethargic throughout the day, regardless of the amount of sleep you get, it’s probably a good idea to consult with a sleep specialist. Likewise if you simply can’t fall asleep at the time you intend to. A specialist will refer you to a sleep lab, wherein you’ll be tested for certain sleep disorders. By far, the most common test performed within a sleep lab is what’s known as a polysomnogram. A polysomnography is used to determine the prevalence of sleep apnea in an individual, and does so through the monitoring of various bodily functions while the patient is asleep. A sleep lab generally consists of multiple bedrooms capable of accommodating overnight sleep study patients. Due to the need for tests to be conducted overnight, a sleep lab may be designed to look similar to a hotel room, thereby providing a measure of comfort to the sleep lab patient.
In addition to the conducting of polysomnograms, a sleep lab may also perform a maintenance of wakefulness test or a multiple sleep latency test, designed to test the severity of an individual’s daytime sleepiness. Upon successful completion of the sleep studies, the sleep lab will provide you with an official diagnosis of your condition, and may include a treatment plan particular to your situation and symptoms. If you feel you’re not receiving an adequate amount of sleep per night, or feel tired during the day regardless of how long you sleep, it’s likely a good idea to visit a sleep lab. At any given time, millions of Americans continue to have undiagnosed sleep conditions, making day to day functioning difficult. The SleepDisorders.com nationwide network of sleep specialists can help point you towards the right sleep lab and towards finally getting a good night’s sleep.