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What is a sleep study?

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Quick Answer

Sleep studies are comprehensive tests that measure and record what happens to the body during sleep. They diagnose the cause and severity of sleep disorders, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

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Full Answer

Common sleep studies, such as the polysomnogram, the multiple sleep latency test and the maintenance of wakefulness test, are conducted in sleep labs or at home with portable equipment, notes WebMD. They diagnose sleep-related breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea, seizure disorders, movement disorders and narcolepsy, as described by the NHBLI. Left untreated, sleep disorders can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

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