Sleep Conditions

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Your Home
Sleep Test

What is HST?

HST, or home sleep testing, is performed exactly as it sounds. The sleep test is worn at home while you sleep and provides information on your breathing while you are sleeping. HST is essential in the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea and the equipment can commonly be set up on your own.

If left untreated, OSA can be associated with diabetes and other medical problems.

OSA, or Obstructive Sleep Apnea, arises when the muscles in your throat relax and cause the airway to collapses while you’re sleeping. This means that air cannot get into the lungs and thus the level of oxygen in your blood decreases.

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About Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Signs of OSA Include the following:
  • Gasping or choking while sleeping
  • Sleepiness or tiredness during the daytime
  • Regular or loud snoring
Risks if OSA is left untreated:
  • Lack of concentration
  • High blood pressure
  • depression
  • Car accidents
What Should I Do On The Day of My Home Sleep Study?
  • Stick to your regular routine as much as possible
  • Refrain from napping
  • Avoid caffeine after lunch
  • Consult your health care provider on whether or not you should take your regular medication on the day of your Home Sleep Study
What Happens After My Home Sleep Study Test?

All of the information gathered during your sleep study will be sent to a sleep specialist who will interpret it for you and determine the next course of action. Sometimes, an in-lab sleep study will be necessary to gather further information.

Why would an In-Lab Sleep Study be necessary?
  • Sometimes the Home Sleep Study doesn’t record enough information to allow the specialist to determine a diagnosis.
  • If your Home Sleep Study results reveal that you do have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, then we’ll have you visit one of our treatment centers to fully address the situation
  • Positive Airway Pressure: one of the most common treatments for OSA is PAP, or positive Airway Pressure Therapy

Other treatments:

  • Weight loss: if you happen to be overweight, reducing your BMI can improve and sometimes eliminate your OSA
  • Surgery: some with OSA have surgery which reduces the tissue in the throat. They may also choose to have bariatric surgery to help them lose weight
  • Lifestyle and/or behavioral changes (ie: quitting smoking or drinking alcoholic beverages)
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Your In-Lab Sleep Study

Why Do I Need To Have A Sleep Study?

Certain sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy, are best tested with a In-Lap Sleep Study. The study will be conducted overnight in a sleep center, which will provide your doctor with a complete evaluation of your body during sleep.

About the In-Lab Sleep Study

What Should I Do The Day Of My Sleep Test?
  • Stick to your regular daily routine as best as you can
  • Avoid Napping
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages after lunch
  • Be sure to not use any hair sprays or gels, they can interfere with the sleep equipment’s recording
  • Consults with your health are provider on whether you should take your daily medication during your test
What should I Bring?
  • Comfortable clothing to sleep in
  • The items you need for your nighttime routine
  • Medications that have been cleared to be taken for this sleep study
What Happens After I Get To The Sleep Center?

Once you get to the center, and go through a quick debriefing with the sleep technologist, you will begin to get ready for bed. You will have your own personal room with a bathroom where you can begin to relax and prepare for sleep. The Technologist will then come in and attach the equipment sensors to your body. These sensors will monitor your brainwaves while you are sleeping. Be sure to inform the technologist if you have any allergies or are sensitive to any adhesives that may be used to attach the monitors to your skin. While you are sleeping, there will be cameras that will monitor you in case help is needed, such as a sensor coming loose during the night.

The Sensors Measure the Following:
  1. Your Brainwaves
  2. Your Heart rate
  3. Your breathing
  4. Your oxygen levels
  5. Any Leg and/or arm movements

Many patients are concerned that they will have a hard time falling asleep in an unfamiliar environment, but most people are in fact able to sleep long enough to allow for a diagnosis.

OSA or Obstructive Sleep Apnea:

Sometimes, the muscles in the throat will relax and cause the airway to collapse. This is referred to as OSA. Since the airway has collapsed, the level of oxygen in the blood decreases due to the lack of air flowing into the lungs. If it is thought that you have OSA, the sleep technologist will then fit you with a CPAP mask that will be worn throughout the study in the event that the study becomes a CPAP study.

What Happens After The Test?

Once your study is completed, the information recorded will be sent to a sleep specialist who will evaluate and discuss the results with you. This process can take up to several days or even a week so that the study may be properly evaluated.

Restless Leg

Restless Leg Syndrome, commonly known as RLS, presents itself as an overwhelming urge to move your legs. Many have also reported feeling a burning or itching sensation inside their legs. Some have found that these unpleasant feelings will go away if they get up and walk around, however this is only a short term fix and the sensations come back as soon as the person lies back down. RLS is usually worse at night and some may feel completely normal during the day and only experience these symptoms at night when they’re ready for bed.

About Restless Leg Syndrome

Causes of RLS:

Low Iron Levels: RLS can be caused by low iron levels that cause brain cell communication problems. If you suspect your RLS is caused by low iron, don’t try to correct this issue with supplements, but instead contact your doctor for further instruction.

Diabetes: Diabetes has been known to damage blood vessels and nerves which can affect leg muscles and in turn cause RLS. Keeping your diabetes under control can prevent and lessen the symptoms of your RLS.

Pregnancy: Some women have developed symptoms of RLS while pregnant, however this normally goes away within a month after giving birth.

Medications: Certain medications can cause or worsen RLS including Allergy Medications, antidepressants, over the counter sleep aids and anti-nausea medications.

Those at Risk for developing RLS:

Women have a higher risk of developing RLS than men.

Those over the age of 45 are more likely to have RLS.

Those whose family has a history of RLS are more likely to develop RLS before the age of 45.

Risks of untreated RLS:

If your RLS is left untreated, your symptoms may become more severe and occur more often over time. You may also find it difficult to sit during long car rides or plane flights. Others have found that their untreated RLS has caused them to get fewer hours of sleep or have a poorer quality of sleep.

Treatment options for RLS:

Some behavioral changes to treat RLS include:

  • Exercising
  • Reducing stress
  • Avoiding caffeine
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Quitting smoking
  • Massaging the legs

There are also medications that specifically treat RLS.

Understanding Narcolepsy

Many who suffer from narcolepsy find that they often have a sudden urge to sleep during the day even after a full nights rest. They also may fall asleep while working, talking with someone or even eating. Many times these people feel more alert after taking a nap, but the symptoms return after a few hours. This is referred to as Excessive Daytime Sleepiness.

Other symptoms include:

Cataplexy: muscle weakness that has been described as hardly noticeable to extremely severe. This condition is often brought on by strong emotions. Those with narcolepsy that have cataplexy often find that when they are laughing or angry they have a slight pressure on their eyelids or it may even cause them to fall down.

Hallucinations: often those with narcolepsy find that they have intense hallucinations when they are falling asleep or waking up.

Sleep Paralysis: Those with sleep paralysis find that they lose their ability to move when they are falling asleep or waking up. They describe it as feeling paralyzed.

About Narcolepsy

Causes of Narcolepsy:

Studies have found that those missing a substance called hypocretin can cause narcolepsy with cataplexy.

Narcolepsy is a lifetime condition that can be managed well with the right treatment.

Ways to determine if you have narcolepsy:

In-Lab Sleep Study: sometimes your doctor may have you do an overnight sleep study to monitor you while you sleep. This will allow the doctor to diagnose whether or not you have a sleep disorder.

Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT): an MSLT is a test that has you take multiple naps at set times during the day in a sleep lab. The doctors will monitor how long it takes you to fall asleep.

Hypocretin Level Measurement: In certain rare cases, your doctor may request a spinal tap where they can measure the level of hypocretin in a sample of cerebrospinal fluid.


Common questions about Narcolepsy

Can I Drive with Narcolepsy?

If your narcolepsy is left untreated driving can be extremely dangerous. Refer to your doctor on whether or not you can drive in your state.

I don’t have narcolepsy because I never spend the whole day asleep, right?

False: Those with narcolepsy might not sleep more than those without it.

I have trouble sleeping at night, I can’t have narcolepsy?

False: those with narcolepsy often have trouble sleeping at night and find that they are waking up multiple times during the night.

I have obstructive sleep apnea, can I also have narcolepsy?

Yes, those with narcolepsy often have other types of sleep disorders.

Is it possible that I have another sleep disorder?

Since there are lots of disorders that can cause you to feel tired throughout the day, it is often very difficult to determine whether or not you have narcolepsy.

Sleep disorders that cause excessive daytime sleepiness include:

  • Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders
  • Restless Legs Syndrome
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
How is Narcolepsy Treated?

Narcolepsy is most often treated with medication. These can include medicines designed to stimulate the mind and keep the patient awake. Many also find that certain antidepressants can help with cataplexy, along with making lifestyle changes.

If you have any concerns, questions, or comments or would like to schedule a consultation at NYBG Sleep Lab, please feel free to give us a call or schedule a consultation online. Let us help you with any sleep difficulties you may be experiencing!