Who Needs to Sleep Studies?

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 12, 2013

If you often feel very sleepy, even though you've spent enough time in bed to be well rested, talk with your doctor about whether you might benefit from a sleep study.

Doctors can diagnose some sleep disorders by asking questions about your sleep schedule and habits and by getting information from sleep partners or parents. To diagnose other sleep disorders, doctors also use the results from sleep studies and other medical tests.

Sleep studies often are used to diagnose sleep-related breathing disorders. Signs of these disorders include loud snoring, gasping, or choking sounds while you sleep or pauses in breathing during sleep.

Other common signs and symptoms of sleep disorders include the following:

  • It takes you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night.
  • You often wake up during the night and then have trouble falling back to sleep, or you wake up too early and aren't able to go back to sleep.
  • You feel sleepy during the day and fall asleep within 5 minutes if you have a chance to nap, or you fall asleep at inappropriate times during the day.
  • You have creeping, tingling, or crawling feelings in your legs that are relieved by moving or massaging them, especially in the evening and when you try to fall asleep.
  • You have vivid, dreamlike experiences while falling asleep or dozing.
  • You have episodes of sudden muscle weakness when you're angry, fearful, or when you laugh.
  • You feel as though you can't move when you first wake up.
  • Your bed partner notes that your legs or arms jerk often during sleep.
  • You regularly feel the need to use stimulants, such as caffeine, to stay awake during the day.

Talk with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms of a sleep disorder. It's important to note how tired you feel and whether your signs and symptoms affect your daily routine.

In infants and children, many of the same signs and symptoms of sleep disorders can occur. If your child has persistent snoring or other signs or symptoms of sleep problems, talk with his or her doctor.

If you've had a sleep disorder for a long time, it may be hard for you to notice how it affects your daily routine.


Your doctor will work with you to help decide whether you need a sleep study. A sleep study allows your doctor to observe sleep patterns and diagnose a sleep disorder, which can then be treated.

Certain medical conditions have been linked to sleep disorders. These include heart failure, coronary heart disease (also called coronary artery disease), obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA, or "mini-stroke").

If you have or have had one of these conditions, talk with your doctor about whether it would be helpful to have a sleep study.



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