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When to Schedule a Sleep Study

Many people take a good night’s sleep for granted. But for others, feeling rested after a night of sleep can be difficult or even impossible. For these individuals, a sleep study may be the key to discovering what is causing the sleep problem.

“If you feel tired after a full night of sleep, snore every night, experience extreme daytime drowsiness or walk around while you sleep, you should see a sleep specialist,” says W. Keith Graham, MD, D-ABSM, pulmonologist and sleep medicine physician at Saint Francis Medical Center.

If your doctor thinks you may have a sleep disorder, he or she may recommend a home sleep test or a sleep study, called a polysomnogram, at the Sleep Disorders Center at Saint Francis.

W. Keith Graham, MD, D-ABSM
W. Keith Graham, MD, D-ABSM

Saint Francis’ Sleep Disorders Center diagnoses and treats many kinds of sleep disorders, including:

  • sleep apnea
  • narcolepsy
  • periodic limb movement
  • restless legs syndrome

During the sleep study, you will sleep in a hotel-like room while a sleep technician monitors your brain waves, breathing, eye movement and blood oxygen levels.

“Sometimes, patients are nervous about having someone watch them while they sleep,” says Graham. “However, the technician’s attention is primarily focused on the wave forms that help determine the presence of disrupted breathing and other sleep disorders.”

The technician watches for many warning signs, including:

  • short sleep latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep)
  • movements that would suggest restless legs syndrome
  • longer than 10-second pauses between breaths
  • snoring
  • irregular heartbeats

“Quality sleep is important for your physical and mental health and for your safety,” says Graham. “A sleep study can help us determine why you are not getting the sleep you need.”

For more information, call the Sleep Disorders Center at 573-331-5837.

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