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Sleep lab is a place where diagnostic tests for sleep disorders are conducted. These tests record the brain activity, the oxygen level in the blood, heart rate and breathing patterns and eye and leg movements. Sleep study, also known as polysomnography, monitors the stages of sleep and identifies why sleep is interrupted.
Sleep labs typically have a bedroom-like set-up with sensors and a monitor. These sensors are attached to the head of the patient using a mild adhesive. Usually the monitor kept discreetly, out of the direct sight of the patient to give a sense of a normal bedroom to the person.
Most of the sleep tests are conducted during the night.
Sleep studies can help identify a wide range of sleep disorders such as Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, Restless leg Syndrome, Circadian Rhythm Disorders, Idiopathic Hypersomnia, Narcolepsy, Central Sleep Apnea, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome, Parasomnias, Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome etc.
An alternative to conducting sleep studies is conducting them at the home of the patient. This reduces the cost and increases the comfort of the patients. However, home based studies can be done only in limited cases such as OSA etc, whereas other disorders usually need a lab test.