The Neurodiagnostics & Sleep Center at Baystate Medical Center is the only facility in western Massachusetts to offer pediatric sleep studies. We work together with Baystate Children’s Hospital to treat children of all ages, including infants. Our pediatric neurologist is also board certified in pediatric sleep medicine, and brings the highest level of expertise available.
We make a special effort to ensure the comfort of our youngest patients and their parents. We have child-friendly rooms that can accommodate a sleep recliner for a parent.
These sleep studies are generally performed at night, but day studies are available for night shift workers. Our three sleep centers offer comfort and amenities to help make sure you are able to sleep. Each room is a soothing environment with adjustable lighting options and sound-proofing reduce outside noise.
Many people wonder if they will actually be able to fall asleep in our sleep centers. We find the vast majority of patients have no trouble sleeping at all. This questionnaire (cuestionario in Español) helps our team evaluate your sleep study in the context of your symptoms.
Before Your Sleep Study
To prepare for the diagnostic testing, sensors will be placed on your head and body. They record your:
- Blood oxygen levels
- Brain waves (EEG)
- Breathing effort and airflow
- Carbon dioxide levels
- Eye movement
- Heart activity
- Leg/body movement
- Muscle activity
We also use a video camera to record your movements during sleep.
Your study may also include therapeutic testing. If it appears you have sleep apnea, a technologist may wake you briefly to equip you with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask. This nasal or facial mask delivers a flow of air pressure strong enough to keep your airway passages open.
If you already use therapy, you may benefit from a study to measure your oxygen levels. We can adjust your machine to correct or improve a respiratory sleep disorder.
At-home sleep studies can often help diagnose patients with sleep apnea. We’ll give you a portable monitoring system to wear around your chest at night. It has an airflow monitor for your nose and an oxygen monitor to place on your finger.
You will come in on the day of the study to pick up the necessary equipment. A sleep technologist will show you how to use it that night. You return the equipment the next day, and one of our sleep specialists will review the information.
This equipment does not monitor brain waves like the tests we conduct in our sleep centers. It may also underestimate the severity of obstructive sleep apnea. In these cases, we may recommend an in-lab study if we suspect a sleep disorder.
What does a home study monitor?
Home sleep studies monitor airflow, oxygen saturation, respiratory effort, pulse, and snoring. We are able to look for apneas (complete blockages in the breathing) and hypopneas (partial blockages in the breathing). Unlike in-lab studies, we do not collect some information including sleep stages, sleep positions, carbon dioxide levels, and leg movements.
Is a home sleep study as good as an in-lab study?
About 80% of patients can be successfully diagnosed with a home study, and home studies are about 15% of the cost of an in-lab study.
An in-lab study allows us to collect more data than a home sleep study. Also, there may be some information misrepresented if you are awake for a large portion of the study. However, home studies often adequately diagnose obstructive sleep apnea. If a home sleep study comes back normal and we still suspect sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, we may ask you to return for an in-lab study.
In-lab studies are generally recommended for other conditions that affect oxygen and carbon dioxide levels such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart failure.
What if there is not enough data?
If the study is too short or if there is too little data due to a sensor falling off, we will ask you to use the machine for another night to get an adequate study. If the study comes back normal and another study is recommended, your insurance may require two normal home studies before approving an in-lab study.
A multiple sleep latency test is a daytime test where you may nap five times every two hours. Typically, it follows an in-lab polysomnography. This approach helps make sure you’ve had adequate sleep the night before and exclude other sleep disorders.
This test evaluates the degree of daytime sleepiness and rapid eye movement (REM) or dream sleep during the naps. We use the test results to diagnose narcolepsy.
It is important to review all your medications with your doctor prior to the test, including:
- Allergy medications
- Mood stabilizers
- Pain medications
These medications can affect sleepiness or the presence of REM sleep. It’s important to stop using them and others at least two weeks prior to the test.
Maintenance of Wakefulness is a daytime test that consists of four cycles of a 40 minute test performed every two hours to see if a patient can remain awake while sitting.
This test may help evaluate whether a patient is safe to drive or to test the effectiveness of PAP treatment for sleep apnea.