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Polysomnogram (PSG)

These tests may be performed to evaluate possible sleep disorders, such as insomnia, hypersomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, breathing difficulties during sleep, behavior disturbances during sleep, or other sleep disorders.

A polysomnograph is a test of sleep cycles and stages through the use of continuous recordings of brain waves (EEG), electrical activity of muscles, eye movement (electrooculogram), breathing rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation, and heart rhythm and direct observation of the person during sleep.

There are two states of sleep: non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is associated with dreaming and paralysis of body muscles (except for the eye and diaphragm muscles). NREM sleep has four stages distinguishable by EEG waves. REM sleep alternates with NREM sleep approximately every 90 minutes. A person with normal sleep usually has four to five cycles of REM and NREM sleep during a night.

Polysomnograms are conducted in the sleep lab. The Sleep Lab features four private rooms. Each is individually climate controlled. The test is carried out during the night so that normal sleep patterns can be reproduced. Electrodes are placed on the chin, the scalp, and the outer edge of the eyelids in preparation for the test.

Characteristic patterns from the electrodes are recorded while you are awake with your eyes closed and during sleep. The time taken to fall asleep is measured as well as the time to enter REM sleep. Patients are monitored and recorded by video camera.

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