Taking a sleep study in an accredited sleep center or lab is the best way to find out if you have a sleep disorder. It is the “gold standard” of sleep disorders diagnosis. Sleep is not a simple process. Many parts of the brain control your sleep in various stages. These stages of sleep include drowsiness, light sleep, deep sleep, and dream sleep. An overnight sleep study is the best way to analyze your sleep in all of its complexity. This kind of study is called a polysomnogram. It measures your brain waves, heart beat, and breathing. It also records movements of your eyes and legs. It shows your doctor the “big picture” of your sleep pattern. At the same time, it provides precise facts on what your body is doing at every moment of sleep. It combines a panoramic view with microscopic details. It is the most complete and scientific way to evaluate your sleep and discover any problems.With a sleep journal, you keep track of when you sleep, how much you sleep, and how you feel when you wake up. You write down this information for a week or two. Your doctor will look at it when you’re done.
There are several sleep studies you might have so your doctor can find out why you’re not sleeping well. These usually are done in a sleep lab.
If your doctor thinks that you have a shift work sleep disorder, you might have a test called actigraphy. For this test, you wear a device on your wrist that looks like a watch. The device measures your movement during the day and at night. It helps your doctor learn when you are awake and when you are asleep.