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Diagnosing Sleep Disorders in the Lab: May 14, 2011

Getting a good night's sleep seems simple enough unless you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from a sleep disorder. Relief may come in an high-tech form as doctor's use sleep labs to find solutions.

They look like hotel rooms and people bed down in them for the night, but sleep labs are actually state-of-the-art diagnostic tools. Milt Ngegy didn't know what to expect when he gave it a try.

"You come in at like eight o'clock in the evening and they explain to you what they're going to be doing" he says. "They'll have some wires and stuff all over your scalp and on your face, nothing uncomfortable at all."

Milt had no trouble falling asleep, but did wake up many times during the night. He was diagnosed with sleep apnea. The study revealed he had 283 episodes that one night.

While patients are sleeping, technicians are working, monitoring consoles which connect to the sleep rooms. Dr. Javaad Khan is a sleep specialist with Lee Memorial Health System. "Actually it's quite extensive, we are measuring different types of brainwave patterns" he says "patterns associated with being awake and being asleep. We're measuring airflow at different parts of the body, nasal airflow and also snoring"

Doctors use these high-tech sleep profiles to pinpoint a patient's problem. "You make the diagnosis, you get started on the treatment and it's like your newborn. You get a good nights sleep" Khan says. For sleep specialist, it's all in a night's work.