A sleep study

A sleep study is the standard test for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The test is generally conducted during the night. The severity and frequency of sleep apnea are determined and whether there are any other sleeping disorders. Usually one night suffices to reach a conclusive diagnosis. Sometimes multiple sleeping sessions will be needed.

When are you eligible for a sleep study
You will get a referral form your GP or specialist when you are eligible for a sleep study. Symptoms on the basis of which you can get a referral are:

  • Snoring
  • Nightly breathing pauses (apnea)
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Concentration problems
  • Falling asleep during the day

What happens
The test usually takes place in a hospital. During 1 night your sleep will be registered. This registration comprises the following:

  • what your sleeping position is
  • whether your breathing pauses during sleep
  • whether your heart rate goes up or down
  • whether your blood oxygen level decreases
  • whether you snore

Possible outcomes
On the basis of the sleep registration, a specialist will determine whether treatment is necessary.

Possible treatments

  • The prescription of a sleeping mask (CPAP) which keeps the airways open during sleep
  • The acquisition of a snoring splint (MAS) to stop the snoring
  • Possibly surgery of the soft palate to decrease snoring (UPPP / ZPP)
  • Life style adjustment (e.g. alcohol consumption, weight, medication) See: Snorers' Rules of Life