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We provide care in three easily-accessible locations across the Rio Grande Valley.

Weslaco

1604 East 8th St., Suite A
Weslaco, TX
Phone: (956) 447-5557

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5300 North McColl Rd., Suite 100
McAllen, TX
Phone: (956) 630-1000

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1022 E. Griffin Pkwy.
Mission, TX 78572
Phone: (956) 833-6000

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Why You Should Consider Getting a Sleep Study

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to overlook the importance of a good night’s sleep. We live in a culture that values productivity and that means sacrificing sleep for many people. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” is a common phrase people use to justify poor sleep hygiene. As doctors, we don’t take this phrase lightly because neglecting sleep can sometimes be fatal.

Sleep is a complex and dynamic process that rejuvenates our bodies, consolidates memories, and allows us to face the challenges of a new day with vitality. Without regular quality sleep, you jeopardize your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, your interpersonal relationships, and your ability to perform at your job. Research shows that more than 50 million people in the US are estimated to have chronic sleep disorders, which means they experience symptoms most nights or every night.

Fortunately, with the help of a sleep study, you can get to the bottom of your condition and start your journey towards revitalizing nights and energized mornings. Keep reading as we discuss what a sleep study entails, how it can benefit you, and whether or not you’re a candidate for one.

What is a Sleep Study?

A sleep study, also known as polysomnography, is a diagnostic test that delves into the mysteries of your slumber. Think of it as a detailed examination of your body’s inner workings while you’re peacefully unaware. During a sleep study, technicians monitor various physiological functions like brain waves, breathing patterns, heart rate, and even muscle activity throughout the night. This comprehensive data paints a picture of your sleep quality and helps diagnose potential sleep disorders.

Now, not all sleep studies are created equal. There are two main types:

In-lab polysomnography: This classic version takes place in a specialized sleep lab, equipped with comfortable beds and monitoring equipment. You’ll spend the night there while technicians attach painless sensors to your body to track various signals. This detailed monitoring captures a broad range of sleep variables, making it ideal for diagnosing complex sleep disorders like sleep apnea or narcolepsy.

Home sleep apnea testing (HSAT): If your doctor suspects sleep apnea, a less intensive option might be available. HSAT allows you to sleep in your own bed with a simplified set of sensors. While it doesn’t offer the same level of detail as an in-lab study, it’s a convenient and cost-effective way to diagnose sleep apnea, particularly when symptoms are clear.

What Are Signs That You Need a Sleep Study?

Many people incorrectly assume that only those suffering from insomnia need a sleep study. However, there are a vast number of physical and psychological symptoms that could indicate that you may have one or more sleep disorders.

Sleep health is more than just being able to fall asleep every night, it also involves being able to stay asleep throughout the night, how deep the sleep is, and how you wake up feeling the morning after. Here are some common signs that you could benefit from a sleep study:

  • Daytime sleepiness: Feeling constantly tired and sluggish, even after a full night’s sleep.
  • Loud snoring and breathing pauses: Your partner complains about your snoring, or you’ve witnessed yourself stopping breathing during sleep.
  • Restless sleep and frequent awakenings: Waking up multiple times throughout the night, feeling restless and unable to get comfortable.
  • Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, leading to daytime fatigue.
  • Morning headaches or unrefreshing sleep: Waking up with headaches or feeling groggy, even after getting enough sleep.
  • Difficulty concentrating or memory problems: Struggling to focus or remember things, which can impact your work or daily life.
  • Unusual sleep behaviors: Sleepwalking, night terrors, or other strange behaviors occurring during sleep.
Man yawning holding a cup of coffee

How Will a Sleep Study Benefit You?

A sleep study is, first and foremost, a fact-finding mission. If your doctor has been unable to determine what’s causing your symptoms through a physical assessment and some routine labwork, it’s the best next course of action. Your doctor is unlikely to suggest a sleep study unless they’re certain of the following outcomes:

  • Diagnosis: A sleep study can pinpoint the exact type of sleep disorder you’re experiencing, whether it’s sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, or another condition.
  • Treatment: Once diagnosed, you can work with your doctor to develop a personalized treatment plan to address your specific sleep disorder. This might involve lifestyle changes, medication, or even specialized equipment like a CPAP (Constant Positive Airway Pressure) machine for sleep apnea.
  • Improved sleep quality: By addressing the underlying cause of your sleep problems, you can finally experience the restorative sleep you deserve. This leads to increased energy levels, better mood, and improved cognitive function.
  • Reduced health risks: Untreated sleep disorders can increase your risk of serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Getting a diagnosis and treatment can help mitigate these risks and improve your overall health.

Common Concerns About Sleep Studies

Even though the benefits of sleep studies are clear, people with sleep disorders still delay or avoid enquiring about them. This hesitation is something we hear about often once we finally get patients in the consulting room and they usually come down to two main concerns.

Affordability

The cost of a sleep study varies, but most insurance plans cover at least part of the expense. It is essential to talk to your insurance provider for details.

Availability

Sleep studies are widely available, but wait times can vary depending on your location. People in remote parts of the country often have to travel to city centers to secure appointments which can increase the costs involved.

 Man sleeping with breathing aid

In Summary

Quality sleep isn’t something anyone should be comfortable living without and overlooking it can have unwanted short- and long-term consequences. A sleep study is a valuable diagnostic methodology that can help you get to the bottom of your symptoms, rule out other possible causes, and help you build a framework for effective treatment.

If you’re experiencing any signs of disrupted sleep or fatigued wakefulness, you could be an excellent candidate. Affordability and local availability might be obstacles, but a quick conversation with your primary care physician and insurance provider could help you find options that make sense for you.

If you live in the Rio Grande Valley and are concerned about your sleep health, contact us for a consultation and get all of your questions answered.