Sleep studies at Sabino Recovery

Every new resident who comes to Sabino fills out a sleep history questionnaire. This will help us to learn more about their sleep patterns, how they sleep, what helps them sleep, and more.

After they have completed the questionnaire and had a few days to settle into Sabino, we will talk to them about the WatchPat Sleep Screening Study. The WatchPat is a computer that is worn on the resident’s wrist. It has a probe that goes over one finger and a small wire with a circular disk that attaches to the breast bone. This test helps us to see if there are any obvious sleep issues that we need to address. After the test, the doctor will connect with the medical and nursing team to view the results. This stage is where we determine if the resident has anything that needs to be treated or if they need further sleep testing in the lab.

Why is sleep important to recovery?

Sleep is one of the body’s essential functions and most adults require 7-9 hours of sleep every night. As we sleep, the body works to repair itself and prepares us for the next day. Without sleep, it is difficult for your body and brain to function properly and affects your brain’s ability to think clearly, react quickly, process memories, and focus.

Lack of or poor sleep, substance use, and mental health are all closely linked. People with mental health conditions like depression and anxiety or who use substances like drugs and alcohol are at a higher risk for poor sleep quality. The reverse is also true. If someone is not getting quality sleep, they have a higher chance of struggling with mental health issues or substance use.

What happens to our bodies when we sleep?

When you sleep, your body processes the previous day and works to repair itself. Your body heals by producing growth hormones, testosterone, and proteins. Sleep also helps to keep your body healthy from viruses like the cold and flu and more serious conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease. Sleeping helps heal your brain by giving it a chance to process and strengthen memories and remove waste products from brain cells.

When you sleep, your body follows a four-stage sleep cycle made up of two types of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid-eye movement).

  • NREM Stage 1: In this light sleep stage, your heart rate, brain waves, and eye movements begin to slow down.
  • NREM Stage 2: In stage two, the body sinks into a deeper sleep. The muscles start to relax, your breathing and heart rate continue to slow down, and eye movement stops.
  • NREM Stage 3: In the third stage, your muscles completely relax and heart rate, breathing, and brain waves are at their lowest.
  • REM: During REM sleep your eyes move back and forth. Heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure increase during this stage. This is the stage of sleep where we dream and strengthen memories.

For the average person, a sleep cycle that goes through all four stages will last 90-120 minutes and will repeat throughout the night until you wake up.

What is a sleep study?

A sleep study allows doctors to see what happens to your brain and body as you sleep. EEG monitors are used to watch your brainwaves as you go through your sleep cycle and they identify any disruptions to the pattern.

The gold standard sleep study will look at brain waves, rapid eye movement, your heart, musculoskeletal system, and how air moves through your nose and mouth. This is done through a combination of EEG monitors on your head, arms, and legs and belts around the abdomen and chest. Sleep studies are very comprehensive and give doctors an insight into your brain health, sleep apnea, and overall restlessness.

Common Sleep Disturbances:

A few of the common sleep disturbances we frequently see and treat are:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Teeth clenching/grinding
  • ENT difficulty
  • Pulmonary difficulty
  • Neurological difficulty

Circadian Rhythm:

Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock. It keeps you awake and alert during the day and relaxed and restful at night before sleep. If your circadian rhythm is off, it can lead to difficulty falling or staying asleep. If your life doesn’t align with your sleep schedule, it can be difficult to get adequate sleep. Here are a few tips to get your circadian rhythm on track:

  • Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
  • Exercise daily
  • Avoid caffeine 6+ hours before bed
  • Dim the lights and avoid screen time before bed
  • Keep naps short and earlier in the day

Is a sleep study right for you?

Everyone can benefit by being curious about their sleep! If you cannot participate in a sleep study, keep a sleep log and look at your patterns. Keeping a detailed sleep diary and using a sleep tracking device consistently can help you learn more about your sleep. With this information, you can create new habits to optimize your sleep quality.

If you or a loved one need more personalized sleep care, reach out to us or your physician for more resources.