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Polysomnography – A night in the sleep laboratory

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Carmen Lobitz
Titelbild des englischen Fachbeitrags über Polysomnografie
© RioPatuca Images/

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What does it look like in a sleep laboratory? Sleep laboratories are often located in departments of hospitals. They generally have comfortable sleeping cabins and a separate room for the technical control centre. This room is also the base for the medical sleep staff. The data cables – if present, as some sleep labs use wireless signal transmission – are brought together to ensure the greatest possible mobility.

What are sleep laboratories used for?

The most important examination that is usually performed at night in a sleep laboratory is called polysomnography. This is a diagnostic procedure for measuring various physiological functions during sleep. Among the physiological functions measured are brain activity, respiration, blood oxygen saturation and body movements.

The measurements are made via electrodes that are applied to the body, especially the head. Straps with sensors are placed around the chest and abdomen to measure respiration rate. Oxygen saturation is measured via a sensor on the index finger. Sometimes the patient’s behaviour during the night is also video-recorded.

Polysomnography provides information about the speed of falling asleep, the different sleep stages, and sleep…

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