What Does a Sleep Study Reveal?

Getting a solid night’s sleep can make or break your overall health. When you rest well, your body has time to repair itself, grow new cells, reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, and restore you mentally and physically.

But when something interrupts your slumber, your body suffers. In addition to putting you at risk for fatigue-related accidents and affecting your ability to think, learn, and function during the day, lack of sleep may lead to serious medical conditions, such as:

Dr. James O’Brien, director of sleep medicine at Boston PainCare, specializes in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders and can help you understand what’s causing yours. He and his team listen carefully to you about your symptoms and run various tests — including an overnight sleep study when necessary — to make sure they get a complete picture of your sleep habits.

Sleep studies explained

A sleep study is simply a way for Dr. O’Brien to monitor what your body and brain are doing while you sleep. It’s really the only way to get to the bottom of sleep-related health issues. 

We have a beautiful facility dedicated specifically to our sleep study patients. It feels like you’re staying at a nice hotel, and you can wear your own pajamas and watch TV or read while you’re dozing off. 

Once you’re asleep, our team monitors your vital statistics like your heart rate and blood pressure. We also keep an eye on you to determine if you snore, twitch, talk, or walk while you’re sleeping. It may sound a little odd to have someone watch while you sleep, but the information we record is important to your health and safety.

Health issues a sleep study can reveal

It’s amazing what a sleep study can uncover. In addition to the obvious problem of insomnia, a sleep study can let our team know if you have conditions such as:

Once we identify the problem, we can develop a customized treatment plan to help you sleep better and longer, aimed at alleviating related health issues.

How much sleep is enough?

How much sleep you need to keep your body healthy and functioning well depends on many factors, such as your age, health, activity level, stress, schedule, and the quality of the sleep you get.

The National Sleep Foundation conducted a two-year study to narrow down the parameters and offer some guidelines for the amount of sleep you need during multiple life stages. Here is a simplified version of the detailed results they revealed:

If you’re only grabbing six hours of shut-eye or less and think you’re doing fine — think again. People who live with a sleep debt over time lose the ability to make good judgements, and that includes properly assessing their need for more sleep.

Some even brag about their ability to function on less sleep than others, but it’s a fallacy. You haven’t adapted to sleep deprivation; rather, your lack of sleep has deceived you into believing you’re functioning at a higher level than you are.

At Boston PainCare, we love helping people discover their sleep disorders so they can get the proper treatment and finally get the real rest they need and deserve. If you’ve been tossing and turning over your sleep issues, call us today to schedule a consultation with our team, or request an appointment online.

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