All articles in Sleep Basics

Understanding the Report of a Sleep Study


Deepak Shrivastava, MD, FAASM, RPSGT

(A Sleep Specialist)

A ‘Sleep Study’, also known as polysomnography or PSG, has been used for decades to diagnose and evaluate the severity of sleep apnea or reversible cessation of breathing during sleep.  Sleep apnea, sometimes called obstructive sleep apnea, is a common health problem that affects millions of men and women. It occurs in children as well. The potential life-threatening effects of sleep apnea include heart and blood pressure problems, anxiety, depression and other mental health problems and difficulty is controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels.  An increasing number of sleep studies are being conducted as more people are becoming aware of the importance of good quality sleep and doctors are evaluating more people with sleep apnea symptoms. The presenting symptoms could be as subtle as daytime fatigue, tiredness, non-refreshing sleep or more intense like snoring, daytime sleepiness, and bed-partner noticing complete cessation of breathing until an awakening (can occur every few seconds to every couple of minutes).

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How snoring can ruin your day

Picture: Thobeka Zazi Ndabula

QUESTION: I need urgent help. For the past three months I have been constantly exhausted. Most mornings I wake up with great difficulty. I also feel really groggy.

My partner is constantly on my case about me waking her up with my snoring.

She says I stop breathing when I sleep. I feel she is paranoid, but am concerned about my deteriorating function. I feel like a zombie for most of the day now.

ANSWER: The situation sounds very unpleasant. I’m sure it is placing major stress on your relationship. Disturbed sleep is a terrible thing and I do understand your partner’s frustration.

Snoring is often overlooked as a contributor to poor sleep and related health problems. People underestimate the long-term effects, besides losing a relationship partner or the passion in your bedroom.

Another misconception is that only obese people snore. Obesity is often a causative factor, but not always the only culprit.

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Better Sleep: 4 Simple Ways to Help

Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep also spells trouble for your waking hours. For better sleep, you can start by putting your smart phone away.

At night you lie in bed, watching the clock and stressing out that you will have to get up in a few hours. During the day, you’re exhausted, sleepy and unfocused.

You’re not alone. At least 40 million Americans suffer each year from sleep disorders such as apnea, narcolepsy or restless leg syndrome, says the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Another 20 million experience occasional sleeping problems.

The amount of sleep each person needs depends on many factors, including age. For most adults, the best amount of sleep is seven to eight hours a night, the NIH says. Some people, though, may need as few as five hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep, the NIH says.

If you are sleep-deprived for  a long period of time, talk to your doctor.  

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Too Much Technology Affects Quality of Sleep

A study titled “Association between Information and Communication Technology Usage and the Quality of Sleep among School-Aged Children during a School Week” from the School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland, sought to determine the association between communication technology (ICT) usage and quality of sleep in school-aged children during a school week.

Researchers concluded that intensity of information and communication technology does seems to interfere with the quality of sleep, with low-use participants sleeping better than the high users.

According to the new research, all 61 subjects, 10–14 years of age, were monitored using a portable device (Holter monitor) to measure heart rate variability (HRV) over a 24-hour period, while an activity diary was used to record in 15-minute intervals.

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High amount of ICT use by children and adolescents may destroy good sleep pattern,” concluded researchers. “In particular the sympathetic overdrive may continue to the early sleep and cause a delay in parasympathetic recovery.

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Electronics Stealing Sleep From Many US Kids, Poll Shows

Megan Brooks

March 04, 2014

American children are not getting enough sleep, and all the laptops, smartphones, and televisions in their rooms may be a big part of the problem, according to the latest annual Sleep in America Poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).

The task force behind the poll says parents can make a difference by setting boundaries around electronics use, enforcing rules, and setting a good example.

“For children, a good night’s sleep is essential to health, development and performance in school,” task force member Kristen L. Knutson, PhD, from the University of Chicago in Illinois, said in an NSF news release. “We found that when parents take action to protect their children’s sleep, their children sleep better.”

The 2014 Sleep in America poll was an online survey of 1103 American parents of children aged 6 to 17 years. It was conducted from December 12 through December 23, 2013.

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Disruptions: For a Restful Night, Make Your Smartphone Sleep on the Couch

To avoid constantly checking email and Twitter in the middle of the night, a traditional alarm clock may be a better choice for the bedroom than a smartphone.
Nick Bilton/The New York Times
To avoid constantly checking email and Twitter in the middle of the night, a traditional alarm clock may be a better choice for the bedroom than a smartphone.

We’ve all been there. You wake up in the middle of the night and grab your smartphone to check the time — it’s 3 a.m. — and see an alert. Before you know it, you fall down a rabbit hole of email andTwitter. Sleep? Forget it.

Well, I’ve found a $7 solution: an old-fashioned alarm clock. My smartphone has been banished from the bedroom.

Sure, you can flip your phone to quiet mode. But the draw to roam in the early hours is powerful. Sleep researchers say this isn’t good for you. You might as well get up and drink a shot of espresso.

“It’s a very slippery slope, once you’ve picked up your phone, to see what time it is, to checking your email, to lying awake with anxiety,” said Dr.

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7 Reasons Why You Have Trouble Sleeping

Originally posted in:

2013-02-21-grandparentslogo.jpg  |  By  Posted: 01/11/2014 8:12 am EST  |  Updated: 01/12/2014 9:05 am EST

having trouble sleeping


If you’ve ever counted sheep, woken up multiple times during the night or experience daytime sleepiness, you are one of the 67 percent of older adults who suffer from insomnia symptoms at least a few nights a week, according to the National Sleep Foundation. As we age, sleeplessness may become more of an issue, so we’ve rounded up the top causes of insomnia for older adults.

  • Cause #1: Circadian Rhythm
    Aging causes our circadian rhythms to change and become less consistent, which makes us more susceptible to insomnia, according to the National Institutes of Health. We become sleepy earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning. When we try to fight our body’s natural instincts by attempting to stay awake or sleep later, it often becomes a losing battle.
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Sleep tips: When counting sheep just isn’t cutting it

Many Americans struggle to get enough sleep. Despite their attempts to do it all, pressure to meet the demands of an active, on-the-go lifestyle may be holding adults back from achieving the type of uninterrupted slumber that leaves them feeling rejuvenated in the morning.

These issues are common, as the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research estimates that nearly 70 million Americans suffer from sleep problems.

Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. recently conducted an informal sleep survey that compiled data from 1,000 people across the U.S. who chose to participate in the online survey about how much and how well they sleep.

According to the findings, 71 percent of survey participants said they don’t get the doctor recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

Furthermore, 55 percent of those surveyed indicated that stress prevents them from falling asleep.

Following these simple steps and winding down after a hectic day remain more important to sleep than many may think.

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Back to School Is a Great Time for Teens to Sleep

Originally Posted: 09/03/2013 6:59 pm in Huffington Post Healthy Living

By Rafael Pelayo, M.D.

As teenagers return to school, the nightmarish reality of increased homework along with more social demands may make getting a full night sleep just a dream. They may feel trapped for time and feel forced to sacrifice their sleep. Teens may model themselves on their sleep-deprived parents and peers and think they are supposed to get less sleep as they mature. Yet science confirms that making healthy sleep a priority will help teens and their families in many ways. Alternatively, sleep deprivation is associated with serious problems including irritability, learning difficulty, motor vehicle accidents, and increased risk of suicide.

For a maturing teenager, developing an autonomous lifestyle is a matter of choices. When they make a decision, they must weigh what is in it for them. Making sleep a priority is a lifestyle choice that quickly pays off.

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Normal sleep

By Jerrold Kram, MD, FCCP

Medical Director, California Center For Sleep Disorders

Centuries ago there was a belief that going to sleep was like dying and waking up was coming back to life.  It was not until the 1800’s that scientists began to realize that in fact there was brain activity during sleep and not until the 1950’s the fact that there were different stages of sleep during the night was discovered.

We now understand that in fact humans experience 3 different states of existence, wakefulness, Non-REM sleep and REM sleep. Non-REM sleep has 3 different stages and occurs for about 75% of the night, the remainder REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep is the state where most dreaming takes place. Yet despite our ability to measure these stages of sleep we actually do not know why we need to sleep and the exact purpose of each stage of sleep. We all know we can’t function without sleep but what exactly takes place during that 1/3 or our lives remains unknown.

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