Sleep Diagnosis

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Diagnosing Sleep Disorders

In order for us to create a treatment plan that will be effective for you, we first have to understand what sleep disorder you may have and how it affects you. We do this through careful examination of your sleep patterns as part of our diagnostic process.

Schedule Your Sleep Medicine Appointment

We’ll start off with a thorough history and discussion of your symptoms, as well as an and examination. Before your appointment, you’ll need to complete our New Patient Sleep Questionnaire (o el cuestionario en español). You can also save time by completing your patient forms before your appointment.

How do we know if someone has a sleep disorder?

At-Home Sleep Study

The first step in diagnosis for many patients is an at-home sleep study. You’ll pick up a portable sleep monitoring device at one of these locations:

Your portable sleep monitoring device keeps track of many factors that can affect the quality of your sleep, such as:

  • Airflow
  • Amount of oxygen you take in
  • Respiratory effort, or how difficult it is for you to breathe, during sleep
  • Pulse
  • Snoring

Using Your Sleep Monitoring Device

You will pick up the device with instructions (in English or Spanish - PDF) about how to put on the device at home prior to going to sleep. You can also watch a video with instructions (below).

It’s important for you to bring the device back to the location you picked it up from the next day. If you picked up your device at Baystate Sleep Medicine - Springfield, you can drop it off at our 24-hour dropbox in the Wesson Lobby of Baystate Medical Center. One of our board-certified sleep medicine doctors will review your data, and we’ll send a report to your referring provider.

We can successfully diagnose about 80% of patients with an at-home sleep study, and an at-home study is about 15% of the cost of an in-lab sleep study. Many insurance plans require members to start with one or two at-home sleep studies before moving on to an in-lab study.

If your at-home sleep study comes back normal but you’re still experiencing sleep problems, or if your at-home study is inconclusive, you may need to have an in-lab study.

In-Lab Sleep Studies

We offer in-lab sleep studies, also known as polysomnography, in our sleep medicine facilities in Springfield and Greenfield. These sleep centers offer some of the most advanced sleep monitoring and diagnostic capabilities in our region and on the East Coast. Learn more about our sleep medicine facilities.

Most of our in-lab sleep studies take place at night. However, if you work the night shift, we do have daytime sleep studies available.

What to Expect During a Sleep Study

Before your sleep study begins, one of our technicians will place sensors on your head and body. These sensors let us monitor and record your:

  • Airflow
  • Blood oxygen levels
  • Brain waves (with an electroencephalogram or EEG)
  • Carbon dioxide levels
  • Eye movement
  • Heart activity
  • Leg and body movement
  • Muscle activity
  • Respiratory effort, or how difficult it is for you to breathe, during sleep
  • Snoring

We’ll also record you with a video camera while you sleep.

Our experienced and caring registered sleep technologists will take care of you throughout the study to provide a safe and positive experience.

Therapeutic Testing

Your in-lab sleep study may also include therapeutic testing. If your results show that you may have sleep apnea, our technologist may wake you briefly to help you put on a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask. This helps you breathe better during sleep by keeping your airway open.

We also perform titration studies for patients with sleep apnea. During the titration study, you will wear a mask over your nose and mouth while you sleep. The mask is connected to a machine which provides a positive flow of air into the airway. This allows your airway to stay open and controls snoring and apnea (slowed or stopped breathing).

If you already use CPAP or another option to treat a sleep disorder, your doctor may recommend a sleep study to measure your oxygen levels while using your treatment method. Other treatments we test to make sure obstructive sleep apnea is well controlled include mandibular advancement (dental devices) and Inspire therapy. We can then use the results to help you adjust your machine to correct or improve your sleep disorder.

Pediatric Sleep Study

Our Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Center is the only facility in western Massachusetts to offer sleep studies for children.

We work with Baystate Children's Hospital to treat children of all ages, including infants, for sleep disorders. Learn more about our pediatric sleep medicine care.

We’ll make sure both you and your child are comfortable during your child’s sleep study. Our child-friendly sleep study rooms can accommodate a sleep recliner so you can stay with your child overnight.

We offer pediatric sleep studies in two locations:

Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)

An MSLT is a daytime test that usually follows an in-lab sleep study. This lets us make sure you’ve had enough sleep the night before and helps exclude other potential sleep problems.

During an MSLT, you may nap five times every two hours. We’ll evaluate how sleepy you are during the day, as well as rapid eye movement (REM, also known as dream sleep) during your naps. We use the results from this test to determine if you may have narcolepsy.

You and your doctor will review all your medications before this test. It’s important to tell your doctor if you take any of the following:

  • Allergy medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Pain medications
  • Stimulants

If you take any of these medications, you’ll need to stop using them at least two weeks before your MSLT. They can make you sleepy or affect REM sleep.

Maintenance of Wakefulness Test
A maintenance of wakefulness test involves four cycles of a 40-minute test that you’ll undergo every two hours to determine if you can stay awake while sitting. This test can help us determine if it’s safe for you to drive or to test whether CPAP/BiPAP therapy for sleep apnea is effective for you.
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