Why do I need a sleep study?
If your doctor suggests that you have a sleep study, your initial reaction may be “Why do I even need a sleep study? I’m a little sleepy during the day, but I don’t have any trouble sleeping at night. My sleep is fine!”
After you ask this question, remember that when you are asleep, you are the most unreliable of observers as to what your body is doing and to your behavior during your sleep. It is very obvious, but the reason you are not a good witness is that you are asleep! For example, patients commonly deny that they snore loudly. Sometimes this snoring is so loud that it wakes up every person, and even pets, in the household. However, the sleeper remains blissfully unaware of these loud, disruptive sounds. It seems even more unbelievable that your bed partner might tell you that, besides loud snoring, you stop breathing during sleep over and over throughout the night. Sometimes these periods last only a few seconds, but often they last 30 to 60 seconds or even longer. You are probably thinking, how is it possible to snore so loudly and to stop breathing during sleep without even being aware of this? It is precisely because you ARE asleep that you do not have direct knowledge of your bed partner’s observations. This is why the overnight polysomnographic evaluation becomes an essential tool for discovering precisely what is occurring in your body during sleep.