How do we study sleep
For research or diagnosing medically-based sleep disorders, we study sleep using an overnight sleep study, also known as “polysomnography”. During this study, we measure brain waves, breathing patterns and breathing effort, leg movements, as well as heart and oxygen measures. We measure these items and then “score” or analyze the data through an interpretation process involving marking the sleep stages, respiratory events and leg movements. From this data, doctors can tell if there is an underlying medically-based sleep disorder. The common diagnosis screened for with a sleep study is sleep apnea. Loud snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness are the most common signs of sleep apnea. We do not require or use a sleep study for diagnosing insomnia. Insomnia is instead diagnosed through an interview and often having patients fill in sleep logs.