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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: August 2009

2 - Evaluation and testing of the sleepy patient



Sleep disturbances can affect people throughout their life span, and the frequency of sleep disturbances increases as we age. People with sleep disturbances may complain of difficulty falling asleep or maintaining sleep, abnormal behaviors during the night, daytime sleepiness or fatigue. Asking about typical bedtime rituals, sleep times and habits is a good place to start in the assessment of any sleep disorder. Many people who present with the classic symptom of insomnia may have more than one problem with sleep. Sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), parasomnias, narcolepsy, and nocturnal seizures sometimes require formal evaluation in the sleep laboratory. The most commonly used techniques used in recording and evaluating sleep disorders include the polysomnogram (PSG), the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT), and under special circumstances, the maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT).

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