Sleep centers and studies
Sleep centers are becoming more and more popular as the demand for getting sleep disorder treatment increases on a regular basis. Professionals at these institutions specialize on performing "sleep studies", which generally involve the patient spending the night at the center and undergoing a series of tests, in order to understand and diagnose the precise disorder that he or she suffers. The most common type of sleep study is the polysomnogram, which reveals specific aspects of the organism while sleeping in order to confirm or rule out any disorder. These aspects include brain activity, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the bloodstream, heart rate, eye movement, flow of air through mouth and nose, snoring, and general muscle movement.
Another common test that is usually performed at sleep centers is the Multiple Sleep Latency Test. This test basically measures the time elapsed from the start of a nap that takes place during the daytime to the first signs of sleep. This period is called sleep latency. The main objective of the study is to objectively measure sleepiness, which provides useful info in order to test for narcolepsy and distinguish physical tiredness from true excessive daytime sleepiness.
A third type of test performed regularly is the Maintenance of Wakefulness Test. This test measures the ability of a person to stay awake during the day. The patients lies down and doctors measure the time that it takes for the patient to fall asleep, thus obtaining a measure of daytime sleepiness.
There are literally hundreds of sleep centers in the United States, and they can go from very basic accommodations to extremely luxurious and extravagant facilities. Most of them, however, share restrictions regarding pets or bed companions. When looking for information on sleep centers, make sure to inquire about any other specific restrictions that the facility may have.
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