Sleep Study | Torrance Memorial | South Bay

Sleep Study

Our staff is committed to making your visit to Torrance Memorial Sleep Disorders Center as comfortable and convenient as possible. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your special needs and concerns, and appreciate your suggestions and comments.

What is a Sleep Study?

patient in sleep center with physician and techYour physician or our sleep specialists may recommend that you have an overnight sleep study to determine if you have a sleep disorder. A sleep study, also called a Polysomnogram (PSG), is a painless, non-invasive test that records your physical state during various stages of sleep. It provides data that are essential in evaluating sleep and sleep-related complaints and problems, such as identifying sleep stages, body position, blood oxygen levels, respiratory events, muscle tone, heart rate, eye movement, brain waves, amount of snoring, and general sleep behavior.

Sleep studies are performed in a Sleep Lab that is specially equipped with computerized monitoring equipment. Studies are performed at our at our Sleep Disorders Center.

Titration Study CPAP

As a result of a sleep study (Polysomnogram), a patient may be diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), and may be sent by the primary care physician back to the sleep center for another sleep study with CPAP (pronounced — see-pap). CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and is the most effective and widely used method of treating sleep apnea.

While asleep, this system gently delivers air into a person's airway through a specially designed mask, which fits over the nose or mouth, thereby creating enough pressure to keep the airway open and produce immediate relief from sleep apnea and snoring. Most people find they get used to the CPAP apparatus after a few minutes and have little difficulty sleeping with it in place. It is important to note that the CPAP does not breathe for the person, but instead allows the person to breathe at a normal rate.

At the beginning of a CPAP study sensors are applied to the patient's body as they were for the Polysomnogram and again brain waves, eye movements, muscle tone, breathing patterns and blood oxygen levels are monitored. Before the patient falls asleep, the sleep technologist will fit the patient with the CPAP mask and make sure it is comfortable for the patient.

Polysomnogram CPAP

In some cases, both diagnosis and treatment of a breathing problem while sleeping can be accomplished in a single night's study, rather than two separate studies. As with the polysomnogram (PSG), sensors measure the patient's brain waves, eye movements, muscle tone, breathing patterns and blood oxygen levels. Once asleep, the technologist carefully monitors the sleep diagnostic equipment for any sign of disrupted breathing during sleep. If interruptions in the patient's breathing (known as sleep apnea) are observed, the technologist will apply CAP during the second half of the sleep study.

What to Expect

Most sleep studies take place at night. After we receive an order from your healthcare provider, our scheduling staff will call you to schedule a convenient date for you. We conduct overnight sleep studies seven days a week. We will also request some medical history. You will be asked some questions about your sleep habits, and you will be given instructions to follow.

You will be asked to arrive for your overnight Sleep study at approximately 8:30 pm. After you arrive, you will be shown to your own private room where you will watch a video that will address what you should expect during your study. Then, you will be asked to change into the nightclothes you have brought with you.

After changing, your polysomnographic technologist, who has advanced training in performing Sleep Studies, will connect you to a number of electrodes that will record your brain waves and muscle movements throughout the night. A microphone will record snoring, and two belt-like straps around the chest and lower abdomen will monitor muscle movement during breathing. Despite all of the equipment, most people say it doesn't disrupt their sleep. After your technologist is certain that the electrodes are recording properly, the lights will be turned off and you can go to sleep.

These procedures are painless, and although there are connecting wires to the sensors, the patient is free to get up and walk around as needed.

During the sleep study, every attempt is made to allow for a normal night's sleep. Some people typically sleep better or worse when away from home, but in either case this does not usually affect the quality of the sleep study. The Torrance Memorial Sleep Disorders Center has a homey, bedroom-like atmosphere with select comfort beds and cable TV. Patients wear their own bedclothes and can bring their favorite pillow, blanket. A trained sleep technologist is there to explain the procedure, operate the diagnostic equipment, and is stationed all night in an adjacent control room to both monitor the sleep recording and ensure the patient's comfort.

You will be able to talk to your technologist who will constantly monitor your exam from an adjoining room. The technologist will also help you get up during the night if you need to use the restroom.

If you are being tested for Sleep Apnea, you may undergo a "split-night" test, in which half the night will be used to diagnose your sleep problem, and the other half will be used to determine the best way to treat the problem. Or, you may be asked to return for another Sleep Study in order to determine the best way to treat your Sleep Apnea.

You will be awakened in the morning, usually around 5:30 or 6:00 am. The electrodes will be removed, and you may shower and dress. Since the electrodes are applied with water-soluble glue or tape, removal is not painful.

You will be asked to complete a questionnaire concerning your sleep the previous night, and then you can go home. If you take a sleep medication on the evening of the study, you should make arrangements for a ride home the following morning after your sleep study.

Following the sleep study, a board-certified sleep specialist interprets the recording. The findings are integrated with the patient's sleep history to determine a diagnosis and make the appropriate treatment recommendations. A sleep study report is also sent to the patient's primary care physician, who should review the results with the patient at a follow-up office visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a sleep study covered by insurance?

Torrance Memorial Sleep Disorders Center will bill your insurance if we receive complete and accurate insurance information. Because insurance plans and benefits vary greatly, specific questions about your policy and coverage -including co-pays and deductibles - should be directed to your insurance carrier or employer.

How will I receive my results?

Because trained and experienced sleep specialists interpret all exams, you will not receive your study results from the technologist who performed your test. Our doctors will report the results to the physician who ordered your sleep study in approximately seven to ten days. Your physician will explain the results to you and talk with you about follow-up treatment, if required.

If your sleep study was ordered by one of our sleep specialists, you will be informed of the results and any follow-up treatment that may be required at the time of your next office visit.

If you would like a copy your exam after you have talked with your physician, call us at 310-517-4738.

What should I bring to the sleep study?

  • Your ID and insurance information
  • Pajamas or any comfortable sleep wear, preferably with a button-down front.
  • Your favorite pillow and blankets. We provide pillows and blankets, but yours may help you sleep better.
  • Toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush or comb
  • Clothes for the following day
  • Any needed medications
  • A book or other reading material

What do I do the day of the sleep study?

  • Wash and dry your hair on the day of your sleep study. Do not use any hair products, such as gels, hairsprays or heavy conditioners, because these may prevent the electrodes from sticking to your scalp.
  • Remove nail polish and/or artificial nails from at least two fingers. The oximeter that is placed on your finger to monitor blood oxygen levels reads this information through the nail.
  • Do not wear make up. Some electrodes are on the face, so that area must be clean in order to get a good connection.
  • Generally, you will be asked to continue to take your regular medications. You will be notified in advance if you should alter your medications on the day of the exam.
  • Do not drink any caffeinated beverages after noon on the day of your study.

What if my doctor prescribes a CPAP?

If you are found to have Sleep Apnea, CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, may be prescribed by your physician. This common and effective treatment provides pressure to your airway through a machine that blows air. The airflow from the CPAP machine is delivered through a mask that fits on your face and covers the nose, or the nose and mouth. This air acts as a splint to keep your airway open during sleep, allowing breathing to become more regular. Snoring stops and restful sleep is restored. Risk factors associated with untreated sleep apnea are greatly reduced when CPAP is used as prescribed by the doctor.

Contact the Sleep Disorders Center

We are open Monday - Friday 7am to 3:30pm and 7pm - 7:30am.


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