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Sleep Clinic

Ambulatory Services Pavilion
Kent Hospital
455 Toll Gate Road
Warwick, RI 02886
P: (401) 736-4523
F: (401) 736-4507

What is a polysomnogram?

A polysomnogram is a study which measures and records different functions during sleep. Some of the measurements taken may include:

  • Brain waves (surface electrodes on the head).
  • Heart beats (surface electrodes on the chest).
  • Eye movements (surface electrodes above and below the eyes).
  • Muscle tension (surface electrodes on the chin).
  • Leg movements (surface electrodes on the lower legs).
  • Breathing (sensors attached to the skin near the the nose or mouth).
  • Breathing effort and movement (small elastic belt placed around the chest or stomach).
  • Blood oxygen levels (small sensor attached to the finger – not taken from actual blood samples).

Why record all these things?

Disrupted sleep can interfere with one’s ability to perform daily activities. In some cases, disrupted sleep can lead to changes in one’s health. Since many factors can affect sleep, it is important to monitor a wide range of functions to pinpoint the source of the sleep disturbance.

Will the sensor devices hurt?

No. Sometimes there is mild temporary skin irritation as a result of prepping the skin for the sensor application. Also, some feel a slight sensation of warmth where the oxygen measuring device contacts the skin. These do not cause any significant discomfort.

How can I sleep with all those things on me?

Surprisingly, most people sleep very well. The body sensors are applied so that you can turn and move during your sleep. Generally you will not even be aware that you are wearing the sensors after they have been on for a short time. Our technician tries to make the environment as comfortable and similar as possible to your home surroundings, and many patients report that they actually sleep better here than at home.

Will I be given a drug to sleep?

No. In fact, we prefer that you have the same type of sleep that you have at home.

What about my usual medications that I take daily?

We expect you to take all your medications that you take on a daily basis unless otherwise directed by your physician. DO NOT discontinue any prescription medications without first talking to your physician.

What if I need to use the bathroom during the night?

All the sensors and wires are collected together in a ponytail fashion and are connected into one cable box which can easily be disconnected. All you have to do is call out loud, the technician will hear you through an intercom. The technician will come into your room and disconnect the cable so you’ll be free to get up.

What happens to the polysomnogram?

The record of your sleep will be analyzed and then interpreted by a physician on the Sleep Lab’s staff. A final report will be mailed to your referring physician within 10 - 14 days. Your doctor will discuss the results with you. It is important to schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor to discuss these results.