Diagnostic Techniques For Sleep Disorders

When you don’t get enough restful sleep due to a sleep disorder, it can lead to daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. Your brain needs adequate sleep to function properly. Sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome can all cause sleep cycle disruptions and poor sleep quality. As a result, you may experience difficulty paying attention, memory problems, decreased productivity, and poor decision-making abilities. Your board certified family nurse practitioner Falls Church, VA, can conduct several diagnostic tests to determine the underlying issue and recommend the appropriate treatments to improve the quality of your sleep. The following are diagnostic techniques that your provider can use to determine the cause of your sleep disturbances.


During a polysomnogram, your provider records your brain waves, eye movements, heart rate, respiratory rate, and muscle activity while you sleep. With a portable device, you may have this test in a sleep lab or at home. The results of a polysomnogram provide valuable information on your sleep architecture, stages of sleep, and the presence of any sleep disturbances such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. It is a non-invasive and painless test, making it a safe and reliable diagnostic tool. The test results provide objective data for your provider to create a personalized treatment plan.

Nap studies

During your appointment, the Integrated Neurology Services team may request to nap in a sleep laboratory or clinic. They then monitor you using various methods, including electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG), and electrooculography (EOG). These methods allow for the evaluation of your brain activity, muscle movement, and eye movements during the nap. Nap studies can help in diagnosing narcolepsy, insomnia, and sleep apnea. The team can also use these studies to assess the effectiveness of treatments for sleep disorders, such as medication or behavioral therapy.

Positive airway pressure titration study

In this study, you will wear a mask that delivers constant air pressure to keep your airway open while you sleep. Your provider will gradually increase the pressure until they find an optimal level that effectively treats obstructive sleep apnea. During the PAP titration study, your doctor will monitor your hypopnea events, oxygen saturation levels, and sleep stages. This information will determine the appropriate level of air pressure to maintain an open airway and reduce the frequency and severity of sleep apnea events.

Home sleep study

A home sleep study involves using a small device you wear during sleep to record physiological parameters such as breathing, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and movements. The device is easy to use, and you can apply it yourself, making it a convenient and cost-effective alternative to in-lab sleep studies. During the study, the device records, and your sleep specialist analyzes it to diagnose the presence and severity of any sleep disorders. The home sleep study is particularly useful if you are unable to sleep in an unfamiliar environment or travel to a sleep center.

If sleep apnea interferes with your quality of life, call the Integrated Neurology Services office or schedule an appointment online for diagnosis and treatment.

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