This SleepSomatics blog article is part one of a four part series on sleep quality, sleep disorders, sleep & weight loss, and in-lab sleep study testing.
Part One: What is the Sleep Architecture
What is the Sleep Architecture
Most people incorrectly believe that sleep is a static state of unconsciousness. One moment you're awake, the next you're asleep. In fact, sleep is a neurologically dynamic environment where the brain is progressing through alternating cycles of light and deep sleep (or sleep stages). This cycling is known as the sleep architecture, and we know that each alternating cycle has normal indices or periods of time spent in each sleep stage to ensure necessary cognitive and physical restoration. What polysomnography (or an in-lab sleep study) evaluates is a patient's actual sleep architecture, quantifying their specific indices of restorative sleep.
What Happens When You are Restorative Sleep Deficient
Abnormalities in restorative sleep (either excess or deficiencies) can often account for a patient's daytime symptoms, such as:
- Car crashes and automotive fatalities
- Daytime somnolence (or daytime sleepiness)
- Daytime fatigue
- Mood swings
- Reduced or poor quality of sleep.
If you don't feel like you did years or decades ago, chances are the root cause can be found in your sleep architecture.
Most people incorrectly believe that sleep is a static state of unconsciousness. One moment you're awake, the next you're asleep. In fact, sleep is a neurologically dynamic environment where the brain is progressing through alternating cycles of light and deep sleep (or sleep stages).
Why Accurate, Credentialed Sleep Testing Matters
When a patient is referred to SleepSomatics for an in-lab sleep study, often what we meet someone with a problem: they're tired, fatigued, moody, or just don't feel healthy, rested, or well. Something's wrong. And very often, the patient has had a multitude of lab tests and blood work to find the cause: testosterone, estrogen, thyroid, human growth hormone, iron, vitamin D, magnesium, etc. They've even tried anti-depressant medications, stimulants, sedatives, and other medications to improve how they feel. Nothing has worked. So their doctor orders a sleep study, and that's when SleepSomatics goes to work.
We spend one-third of our lives asleep. That's 229,961 hours or 9,581 total days spent asleep in the average lifetime. In an average year, a person sleeps the equivalent of 121 days. That's a lot. Imagine if you spent 121 days next year breathing in toxic fumes. Or, imagine you covered your face in a germ-infested hospital gown from January through April. You'd get sick, right? That's because of the total amount of time your body would be spending exposed to those toxins or diseases. This is why sleep disorders and broken or fragmented sleep are so problematic. We spend so much of our life asleep that if that sleep is a disease-ridden state, those diseases or disorders negatively impact our health and daytime quality of life.
Evaluating and Quantifying Sleep Quality and Sleep Continuity
Evaluating the sleep architecture and quantifying restorative sleep indices requires an in-lab sleep study. We recommend choosing a credentialed, accredited sleep center or sleep lab like SleepSomatics to ensure your sleep architecture is correctly evaluated. Testing norms are established by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), and an AASM-accredited sleep center or lab like SleepSomatics must adhere to those rigorous sleep testing protocols. You wouldn't use a smart phone app to diagnose cancer or a brain tumor. The one-third of your life spent asleep (and two-thirds of your life spent awake) deserve the highest, most accurate diagnostic sleep testing and evaluation.
In an average year, a person sleeps the equivalent of 121 days. That's a lot.
An in-lab sleep study evaluates 70+ sleep disorders, quantifying the sleep architecture and restorative sleep indices. In Part Two of this SleepSomatics three part series on sleep quality, sleep disorders, and in-lab sleep study testing, we will look at the two types of restorative sleep: delta (SWS or slow-wave sleep) and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
Concerned you aren't getting enough sleep? If you or someone you care about snores or is tired and fatigued during the day, sleep-disordered breathing (and sleep apnea) may be a serious risk. Get your sleep tested today by SleepSomatics, a professionally credentialed and accredited sleep test center located in Austin since 1999. Call 512.323.9253.
This blog's thumbnail image credit goes to Science Daily.