According to Consumer Reports, over 160 million Americans struggle to get a good night’s rest. The reasons that sleep may elude a person are unique to every individual. Stress, work schedules that involve taking the night shift, and lack of a good environment for sleeping can affect a person’s quality of rest. However, underlying health issues can play a part in robbing a person of the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a day. If you have difficulty getting the sleep you need on a regular basis, a sleep study could help you to protect your health.
How Can Lack of Sleep Impact Your Health
Far too many people overlook the importance of sleep. Healthline can’t emphasize enough how detrimental sleep deprivation can be to your health. You might not even be aware of how your poor sleep habits have affected you. Look at your job performance and daily life. If you feel like you have been in a mental fog or you haven’t been able to stay focused, it could be blamed on your lack of sleep. You may notice that your memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be. You could be more likely to have accidents or make mistakes. Track how often you have been ill. Sleep deprivation has been connected to a poor immune system. Weight gain is also typical as your lack of sleep throws off your body’s metabolism. You are also more likely to overeat when your body doesn’t get the rest it needs. Your blood pressure may go up, as well as an increased risk of heart problems and other health conditions. If you haven’t had as much desire with your partner in the bedroom, it could be linked to how much you sleep.
A Sleep Study Can Get to the Root of Your Sleep Problems
The Sleep Foundation stresses the importance of evaluating you during your sleep to determine why sleep is eluding you. A sleep study can help you to find answers, pinpointing any underlying issues that could be causing insomnia or irregular sleep. If your sleep study is ordered by a doctor, you have health insurance, and you choose a provider that is in-network, your study could come at low or no cost to you. The most important thing you need to remember is the information provided by your study could help you to be a healthier individual.
What is Involved During a Sleep Study?
There are various types of sleep studies, including studies performed with equipment that is sent to your home or studies in a sleep center. While you may be more comfortable at home, you can have more confidence in results in a center where you are closely monitored by professionals. If you choose a sleep study performed in a facility, you may have a multiple sleep latency test to evaluate your sleep habits during the day. This might be recommended if you tend to nap during the day or sleep during daytime hours. The test will look how long it takes you to drop off to sleep. It will also be able to evaluate how soon REM sleep is achieved. It may be able to determine if you have narcolepsy or another disorder. Most sleep studies take place at night while polysomnography is performed. Trained staff members will be collecting data concerning:
- Your body movements
- Breathing habits
- Level of oxygen in your blood
- How much your eyes move
- The rate of your heartbeat
- Any unusual activity in your brain
Once your test has been successfully completed, information will be evaluated by a sleep specialist to be shared with you.
Your Sleep Study Can Identify Why You Not Sleeping the Way You Should
Your sleep study can provide you with a wealth of information. You could find out that your lack of sleep can be traced to a variety of issues. You could have a disorder known as parasomnia, otherwise known as sleepwalking. You could have insomnia that keeps you from falling asleep in the first place or keeps you from sustaining sleep throughout the night. Your insomnia could be traced to what you eat, what you drink before bed, your levels of stress, anxiety, or a health condition. Restless leg syndrome is another common cause of sleep difficulties. It makes you feel like your legs are twitchy. You have a constant urge to move your legs to the point that you get out of bed. This condition could be connected to periodic limb movement disorder as your legs move on their own while you are actually sleeping. The cause of this disorder is unknown for most people, but it can be triggered by the use of alcohol, nicotine, drinking caffeine, or the use of certain medications. You could also have a REM sleep behavior disorder, a condition of unknown cause that can cause you to be restless during REM sleep while your dreams overcome you.
Sleep Apnea May be Identified During a Sleep Study
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects many adults typically over the age of 40. It is caused by an obstruction of the airway during sleep. It can be caused by a physical blockage at the back of throat or when the muscles of the throat relax. It can also be due to an issue with the central nervous system failing to communicate in order to ensure proper breathing during the nighttime hours. This lack of air can occur numerous times in the night as you actually stop breathing. This can cause you to snore or wake up often. You may not even be aware it is happening. However, your extreme sleepiness during the day, inability to concentrate, dry mouth, and irritability could be traced to sleep apnea. If left untreated, it can put a strain on your heart, putting you at higher risk of strokes and heart disease.
Your Sleep Study Can Help You to Sleep Well on a Regular Basis
Once you undergo a sleep study, you can use valuable information about your results to improve your quality of sleep. Changes in lifestyle, use of a CPAP device to provide regular airflow at night, counseling, or medication are alternatives that may help you to sleep well when your head hits the pillow.