Sleep laboratory: Total supervision in the service of the night

Total supervision in the service of the night

At night, nerves, heart and muscles begin their own lives. Whether everything stays within normal limits, doctors can determine in the sleep laboratory. Do not worry: the doctors do not see what you dream.

What you do in bed at night is private. However, if you have sleep problems  or if you  catch your breath during your sleep, then someone should look after your  right. In most cases, it helps to ask your loved one to watch your slumber a little. For severe  sleep disorders  , however, you should go into the hands of surveillance professionals.

When you should go to a sleep laboratory, your doctor can decide best. Such laboratories are operated by large clinics. Sleep medical professionals go there with a large array of high-tech to work: cameras, microphones, electrodes and computers. You do not have to do anything there except sleep.

When you arrive in the evening, a specialist will meet you and talk to you about your problem and about your other illnesses. Then a sister prepares you for the night: They go to the lab bed and are wired – with everything the medical device technology has to offer at the moment. This is completely harmless, does not hurt and does not disturb your sleep. The clutter is necessary for the recorders to hear everything you do during the night.

The EEG overhears your nerves in the dream

Electrodes placed on your head measure how active your brain is. The thunderstorms further pass the electrodes on to an EEG (electro-encephalo-gram). The brain curves are different depending on the sleeping phase: in deep sleep, for example, show peaceful lines with a high rash, in dream sleep, the brain curves look almost as in the waking state. With the help of the EEGs, professionals can see whether you regularly slide from one sleep stage to another during the night and whether you spend enough time in deep sleep. But do not worry: the doctors can not see what you are dreaming about.

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Maybe the nurse also sticks electrodes next to her eyes. You record whether your eyeballs are moving during the REM sleep phase. REM stands for rapid eye movements , fast eye movements with closed eyelids. They are typical for the sleep phase, in which the brain produces colorful dream images.

Sleep disorders

Electrodes record if your chin is shaking or your legs are wriggling

In the sleep laboratory, your muscles are also monitored: electrodes on the chin and limbs forward the muscle impulses to an EMG, an electro-myogram. For example, the sleep doctors can see if your muscles are cramping or tensing on the chin, for example. The electrodes on your arms and legs indicate whether you want to fidget or sleepwalk during the night. Whether your heart has to work hard during sleep records an ECG (Electrocardio Gram): The electrodes on your chest register if the organ has rhythmic disturbances – this could affect your sleep.

So that the doctors really miss nothing, an infrared camera films all your movements. It also records how often you wake up – because most sleepers can barely remember those waking phases the next morning. Straps on the chest and feelers in the nose and mouth measure whether you breathe evenly.

Meanwhile, a microphone picks up all the sounds you make during the night, be it snoring or talking during the dream. A clip on one of your fingers uses infrared rays to analyze how much oxygen your blood transports at night. If you keep breathing during your sleep, reduce the oxygen saturation of the red juice.

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The result: a mess of paper, full of curves and numbers

All this information passes cables to a computer in the next room. There is an assistant sitting there watching you all the time. The next morning, they are released from the cable clutter. The experts are now going to analyze the data: Up to 800 pages with curves and numbers to look at and evaluate. The result is your personal sleep profile: It shows what robs you of sleep.

Now the sleep doctors only have to find out what works best for you. Doctors can try the therapy on you the very next night: they’re rewired and allowed to rest in the high-tech bedroom – you’ll probably sleep much better then.

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